HMA v ANDREW DOCHERTY & MICHAEL DOBSON

Today at the High Court in Edinburgh Lord Pentland imposed life sentences on Andrew Docherty and Michael Dobson after they were found guilty of the murder of Brian Docherty on the 16 August 2010 in Greenock. The punishment part of both sentences was fixed at 16 years.

On sentencing Lord Pentland made the following statement in court:

“Andrew Docherty and Michael Dobson, the evidence at your trial demonstrated that the scale of violence you both used in murdering the late Mr Brian Docherty in his own home was deplorable. You inflicted on him very extensive blunt force injuries to his face, with multiple fractures of the cheekbones, nose and lower jaw. The whole of the deceased’s face was bruised and swollen from top to bottom and there were multiple deep lacerations, mainly around the eyes, on the nose and inside the mouth. There was also a large area of bruising across the upper part of the chest, a fracture of one of the bones of the throat and eight fractured ribs. The opinion of the pathologists was that the attack must have involved repeated blows from some heavy object or objects; some of the injuries suggested the use of something with a relatively sharp edge. Stamping and kicking may also have been involved, particularly for the injuries to the upper part of the chest. Having viciously attacked Mr Docherty, you left him alone in his house and made no attempt to summon assistance for him.
You both have significant criminal records involving convictions for violent offences.
I have taken account of the contents of the reports and of the submissions made in mitigation. I acknowledge that you have both expressed remorse.
In respect of the convictions for murder there is only one sentence that can be imposed. I sentence each of you to life imprisonment. Those sentences will run from 24 August 2010 in your case Docherty and from 25 August 2010 in your case Dobson.
I must also fix the punishment part of your sentences, this is the period which you must spend in full in custody to satisfy the requirements of retribution and deterrence before you can apply to the Parole Board to be released on licence. I see no reason to differentiate between the two of you except in respect of the bail aggravation. In view of your previous convictions for crimes of violence and the circumstances of this murder, I fix the punishment part of your sentence Docherty at 16 years and 3 months, of which 3 months is referable to the bail aggravations.
In your case Dobson taking account of the same factors, I fix the punishment part at 16 years.
I should stress that it does not follow that either of you will be released after you have served these minimum periods in prison. You will be released only if and when the Parole Board considers that it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public that you remain in prison”.