PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. – A forensic psychiatrist has told a dangerous offender hearing that a Saskatchewan man who brutally beat a woman before setting her clothes on fire is capable of extreme violence.
The psychiatrist testified that Leslie Black is haunted by childhood trauma that includes watching his mother being stabbed to death on his ninth birthday.
Black’s dangerous offender hearing has been running since Monday in Prince Albert provincial court.
He earlier pleaded guilty in the attempted murder of Marlene Bird, who was severely injured and lost both legs in the June 2014 attack that happened after Black had sex with her.
If Black is designated a dangerous offender, he will face an indeterminate prison sentence.
Bird was in court Wednesday.
“I don’t really like looking at him,” Bird said outside court. “I wanted to make him see what he did to me. I know it’s not right.”
Bird said she’s upset the sexual assault charge has been dropped.
“That’s not right,” Bird said. “That’s the reason he burned me.”
She said she is trying to attend the two-week hearing as often as possible, but travel arrangements from her home in Timber Bay and frequent doctor’s appointments make it difficult.
The hearing was told Black has a personality trait that causes him to struggle to identify and describe his emotions.
Dr. Shabehram Lohrasbe, who has more than 30 years of experience, wrote a 32-page report based on a four-hour interview with Black.
Lohrasbe said Black suffers from many issues, but none of them explains the sudden and extreme violence of the attack on Bird.
“We have to be extremely cautious in presuming that we understand this man and understand what he’s capable of,” Lohrasbe testified Wednesday.
Lohrasbe said Black has also struggled with substance abuse throughout his life.
“He was injecting stuff he didn’t even know what it was. It’s a surprise he’s alive today.”
Other factors that put him at risk of anti-social behaviour include unemployment and a total absence of close friendships, Lohrasbe said. Of particular concern is his history of setting fires.
Most concerning to the psychiatrist, however, was that Black’s previous criminal record consisted largely of property and drug-related offences — not highly violent crimes.
“This is a very different type of case. Typically, when you have extreme violence, there’s a buildup.”
The hearing was told that Black is being treated with a battery of medications, including two anti-depressants, a low-dose anti-psychotic and several HIV medications. He was previously taking methadone to help manage opioid cravings.