By: Taylor MacPherson
Warning: This story contains details that may be disturbing to some readers.
A 32-year-old man whose vicious assault left a woman legless and partially blind will not be labelled a dangerous offender.
In an 18-page decision read out Wednesday in a Prince Albert courtroom, Judge Stanley Loewen said Leslie Ivan Black’s brutal crime certainly warrants a lengthy penitentiary sentence and a long-term supervision order. However, he said he could not conclude that Black’s risk to reoffend was so great he could never re-enter the community.
Loewen read the facts of the case into the record as part of his decision:
In the early morning hours of June 1, 2014, Black encountered Marlene Bird and two other people in an alley in the 100-block of 12th Street West in Prince Albert.
Bird and her friends had been drinking, as had Black. Eventually, Loewen said, Bird’s two friends left and she had sex with Black.
At some point during their intercourse, Bird said she would “charge [Black] with rape.” In response, Black beat and stomped Bird before setting her clothing on fire with a lighter.
Court heard Black bought candy at a nearby 7-Eleven after the attack, then walked back past the scene of his crime, ignoring his still-burning victim.
It was several hours before Bird was found barely clinging to life, with burns so severe they exposed the bones in her face.
“Her right foot was attached only by a piece of tendon or skin,” Loewen said, noting photographs of her wounds were “quite disturbing.”
Black pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted murder in April of 2015. The Crown then applied for a dangerous offender designation, which would allow a judge to impose an indeterminate prison sentence. That move led Black to try and have his guilty plea expunged, but his application was denied.
Once Loewen had finished outlining the details of Black’s crime, he moved to details of Black’s personal and psychological history.
Dr. Shabehram Lorhasbe, who gave evidence for the Crown, said Black is likely affected by no fewer than eight separate conditions, including antisocial personality disorder, childhood ADHD, and suspected fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
Court heard of Black’s tragic personal history as well, which included witnessing the violent stabbing death of his own mother on his ninth birthday.
Although Black will not be labelled a dangerous offender, the actual sentence he will serve has yet to be determined. Attempted murder carries a five-year minimum sentence in Canada, but the lawyers on both sides requested time to research and file relevant case law with the court.
“The sooner, the better,” Loewen said, and adjourned the case until Sept. 22 when he will render his final sentencing decision.
Outside the courthouse, Marlene Bird said it’s painful to see her attacker in court but she felt it was important for Black to see her.
“He just looked at me and looked down,” Bird said. “Didn’t say sorry.”
Bird said she worries Black will continue to be violent in the future, and said he deserves the dangerous offender designation.
“He’ll do that to somebody else,” she said. “He’s got to learn not to treat women like that.”
Bird’s long-time partner Patrick Levallee also expressed disappointment at both the dangerous offender decision and at the prospect of waiting even longer to learn Black’s sentence.
“When they let him out, I hope Marlene gets her legs back,” Levallee said. “She’s a strong lady, this girl.”
Black’s defence lawyer Brent Little declined to comment.