Their story begins in July 2014 in rural Aberdeenshire, on the Crimonmogate estate located between Peterhead and Fraserburgh. They had moved in to a rented house on the Estate of Viscount Petersham. This was small for their family of four children but ideal as the quiet location suited their elder son who suffered from Autism. Within months of moving in, they were approached by a neighbour with an outlandish proposal. This neighbour offered them £25,000 “ to do with as they would like” for access to their disabled son. They did the right thing, told him to get lost. The paedophile neighbour was both insistent and confident “You will not say ‘No’ to me!” Brian Docherty contacted the authorities.
Within 24 hours of making this police report, Seargent Buchan of Fraserburgh Police station was at the Docherty’s door. His only interest was in making everything go away. He had spoken to the neighbour (who lived with two unrelated teenage boys) but it was all OK, the neighbour had denied being a paedophile. “What can I do to persuade you there is nothing here” was his repeated question. The more he sought to persuade the Docherty family, the more they protested that this man was dangerous.
They sought to warn their landlord, Viscount Petersham of the threat. To no effect.
It seemed that they were the focus of attention, an attempt at eviction, and, crucially, interest from Social Services. This mounted until, after a month, the Docherty’s became convinced there was going to be an attempt to seize their children. They decided on a family holiday in Ireland to find a safe place to alert the higher echelons of the Scottish authorities. They started writing letters to everyone up to and including Nicola Sturgeon
Within a week, The Garda were at their door in a late night call “just to check the children are OK”
Writing and complaining to the Scottish authorities (PIRC – Police Investigations & Review Commissioner upheld 12 of 13 complaints) only increased the interest shown by authorities and pressure on the family, which included being followed, domestic break-ins and strange nocturnal activity around their home. This culminated in a raid in January 2015 by two social workers and four police (some from the Garda Armed response unit) during which their children were seized. No court documents or warrant were displayed during this action. When the matter came to court, the case was thrown out, the Docherty’s children returned and a warning given by the judge that files from Scotland (files the Docherty’s are yet to see) must not follow the family.
Victory in court seemed to have little effect on the harassment however. The Docherty’s were becoming increasingly aware that claims were being made concerning their mental health and moves to section them seemed to be afoot. As a precaution they obtained a full independent Psychiatric report – which reported resilient, even dynamic mental health. After ten further months of harassment, and despite constant appeals to the relevant authorities to intervene, a second raid was conducted by the Irish state. This time there were thirteen people in all, five social workers plus eight Garda, many of whom were armed. The children were seized in the manner of a kidnap, no lawful authority was claimed and they process was sufficiently violent that one Garda officer involved later described it as the worst scene he had ever witnessed in his police career.
The children were detained on an interim care order, which lasts eight days, that was more than six months ago. Janice and Brian have not been allowed to visit their children in five months (since taking a photo of a bruise on their 18 month old son). They continue to experience harassment, they are denied legal aid, their writ of habeas corpus to the High Court in Dublin has been ignored. And yet the guardian appointed by the Irish state has written that their children are a credit to Mr and Mrs Docherty.
Why has this family been torn asunder when they have committed no crime, been accused of no crime and where there is not even an allegation that they bad parents. The only cause we can see their correct and courageous decision to alert the lawful authorities to the approach by a predatory paedophile.
This family need your help; this help can be in the form of questions to the relevant authorities:
- Police Scotland
- The Scottish Government Justice secretariat
- Nicola Sturgeon
- Aberdeenshire Council, Social Work Department
- The police Service of Norther Ireland
- The Garda
- Social Work Department in LetterKenny in Donegal
- The Home Office
These people have many questions to answer: the most pressing being “when will the Docherty Family be reunited?”
The most troubling is “Who has the power to marshal the resources of three states to harass a single family for telling the truth?”
| Monday, 13th June 2016