Sword-wielding man with PTSD given suspended sentence

Ryan Ross
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Prince Edward Island provincial court

A Charlottetown man who is a Vietnam War veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder and told police he made a mistake when he waved a sword at two of his neighbours got a suspended sentence today in provincial court.  

Kenneth Docherty, 67, appeared before Chief Judge John Douglas in Charlottetown for sentencing after previously pleading guilty to possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

Docherty has been in custody since the July 1 incident and Douglas gave him credit for time served at a rate of time and a half.

RELATED: Charlottetown man arrested for threatening people with Samurai sword

The court heard that on Canada Day, Docherty was living in an apartment on University Avenue and at about 12:40 p.m. the police were called there after a complaint of a man swinging a sword at people.

When they arrived they looked in Docherty’s apartment window and saw two large knives on the floor next to his bed.

Docherty was in the bed and sat up when the police arrived.

“I made a mistake,” he told them.

Witnesses said Docherty had been clanging swords together and hitting or stabbing the door to the victims’ apartment a few doors down from his.

When one of the victims told Docherty he was scaring her, he told her he was sorry.

The other victim then grabbed a pair of shorts and managed to knock a sword out of Docherty’s hand.

The police found what were described as three samurai swords that Docherty later said he bought at Shoppers Drug Mart.

The court also heard that in April the police were called to Docherty’s mother’s house where they found him on a blood-stained bed after he cut himself in the stomach with a long military-style knife.

It was deemed a suicide attempt and the injuries were serious enough that at the time Docherty was given a 50 per cent chance of survival.

Docherty, who told police he had mental health issues, including PTSD, has spent time in Hillsborough Hospital and Crown attorney Valerie Moore said she had concerns about his mental health.

Defence lawyer Thane MacEachern said Docherty recognized the incident involving the swords was a serious matter but only remembered about four seconds of what happened and wasn’t sure why he did it because he held no ill will toward the victims.

It was an isolated incident indicative of Docherty’s mental health, MacEachern said.

In handing down a sentence, Douglas said he didn’t think any further jail time would serve any purpose.

Docherty will be on probation for 30 months, during which time he is banned from his former apartment building and from having any contact with the victims.

Douglas ordered weapons prohibitions and also banned Docherty from owning any swords or knives other than those used in the course of ordinary living.

Docherty will have to pay a $200 victim surcharge.

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

twitter.com/ryanrross

Organizations: Shoppers Drug Mart, Hillsborough Hospital

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Vietnam

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Recent comments

  • different opinion
    July 25, 2014 - 15:59

    I disagree with enough already. a responsible collector would never be out in public acting like he is a knight of the round table. Practically anything can be used as a weapon if a person is inclined to create havoc.

  • justin
    July 25, 2014 - 14:46

    PTSD will be the new defense. 20 years ago it was either I was abused by my parents or my life is to stressful. Now everyone will have PTSD. Just imagine if we actually had someone take responsibility for the own actions for a change.

    • idiot^
      July 26, 2014 - 00:56

      Yeah because being in a war wouldn't be traumatic or anything IDIOT! You should be kissing this mans boots because it's men like him that keep you free to be a snot nosed little punk.

    • Hawkins
      July 26, 2014 - 10:45

      Idiot (perfect nickname) how do you know he is really a vietnam vet and why do you think that the Vietnam war had anything to do with our freedom?

  • enough already
    July 25, 2014 - 11:59

    It is time for the city of Charlottetown to implement a total ban of swords of any kind! There is no reason for knives and swords in today's modern society . Mandatory use of plastic knives is the course of action to take to eliminate these incidents .

    • SlyFox
      July 25, 2014 - 14:44

      You are misleading people with this line of thinking.The weapon in this case was a sword but banning all swords will not solve the problem at hand. This guy could have used a hammer instead of a sword,so do we ask for a ban on all hammers? What if someone uses a car as a weapon now do we ask to ban all cars? The weapon is only a tool that one chooses to harm or damage onto another.