Glasgow & West Scotland

Knife man Gerald Docherty has jail term cut on appeal

Appeal court judges have cut the jail term given to a man who stabbed another man in the chest while on licence from a previous sentence.

Gerald Docherty, 44, admitted stabbing Gary Boyle at a house in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, in August 2009.

He was given a 10-year sentence of seven years and one month in jail and two years, 11 months supervision.

This was cut to six years in jail after appeal judges applied a "discount" for his early guilty plea.

Docherty was originally originally charged with attempted murder over the attack but had his guilty plea to assaulting Mr Boyle to his severe injury and permanent disfigurement accepted.

'Unprovoked attack'

At the High Court in Glasgow judge Lord Turnbull handed Docherty an extended sentence of 10 years, including a jail term of seven years and one month.

But Docherty applied to the Court of Criminal Appeal, claiming that the judge had not discounted the sentence enough to give him credit for pleading guilty at an early stage of the case.

In a written judgement, Lord Bonomy said: "The sentencing judge reported that he proceeded upon the basis that the appellant was a man of violence who was armed with a weapon that he was prepared to use as the circumstances suited him.

"In the event he did use it in an unprovoked attack upon the complainer by stabbing him in the middle of the chest. Had the wound been half an inch deeper or half an inch to either side, it would have penetrated the heart.

"The sentencing judge further reported that the appellant has a quite atrocious record of having been convicted on about 27 previous occasions including his first custodial sentence for assault in 1984."

Lord Bonomy noted that Docherty had three further convictions for crimes of assault, the last being in 2001 when he was convicted of assault and robbery and jailed for eight years, and committed the stabbing while on bail.

He said it was "unsurprising that the sentencing judge considered an extended sentence" but said Lord Turnbull "erred by restricting the discount".

Lord Bonomy concluded: "Since the appellant pled at the first preliminary hearing a discount of the order of 25% was appropriate."

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