The victim of a brutal assault was present in court for the first day of a dangerous offender hearing for her attacker.
Marlene Bird was left with amputated legs and damaged sight after Leslie Black slashed her face and lit her on fire in 2014.
Black pleaded guilty in 2015. He later lost a bid to take back the guilty plea, claiming he didn’t understand he was leaving himself open to possibly being declared a dangerous offender.
A dangerous offender designation carries an indefinite prison term — meaning Black could be faced with incarceration for the rest of his life pending the results of his two-week hearing in Prince Albert Provincial Court.
Slow start as hearing gets underway
Bird sat in her wheelchair and had a brief conversation with Crown prosecutor Jeff Lubyk before the hearing started. She left court for the day as the first witness, Trina Debler, testified.
Debler is a programs manager at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary. She testified for over two hours regarding details of various offender programs offered by Correctional Service Canada. She noted that sy programming is still available to dangerous offenders.
Other corrections experts are also expected to testify, along with various doctors and mental health experts.
Black sat stoically in the prisoner’s box wearing prison sweats, wire-framed glasses and sporting a trimmed goatee. He didn’t say a word throughout the afternoon’s proceedings.
Provincial Court Judge Stanley Loewen said photographs of Bird’s injuries may be presented as evidence, and warned the images are disturbing.
Two weeks were set aside for the hearing at Prince Albert provincial court, but Lubyk said he anticipates the Crown will close its case Thursday.