PRINCE ALBERT — A psychologist says a man who beat, then set a woman on fire does not necessarily pose a high risk to reoffend.
Dr. Terry Nicholaichuk testified Monday at a hearing to determine whether Leslie Ivan Roderick Black should be declared a dangerous offender.
Black pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of Marlene Bird, who was burned so badly that doctors had to amputate both her legs after the June 2014 attack in Prince Albert.
If Black is designated a dangerous offender, he may face an indeterminate prison sentence.
Nicholaichuk, testifying for the defence, described Black as cognitively compromised, but not emotionless or sociopathic.
He said Black requires intensive, long-term therapy, but does not have the ongoing “pattern of brutality” that makes an offender a high risk to the public.
Nicholaichuk noted there is no peer-reviewed evidence to suggest a relationship between the level of harm done to a victim and rates of reoffending, but did say those who have shown a pattern of violence are highly likely to commit more violent crimes.
“Mr. Black has many serious challenges to overcome if he is to survive in the community,” Nicholaichuk said. “He wants to be more successful but frankly he doesn’t have the skills.”
If Black remains in prison, Nicholaichuk said, his treatment options will be severely limited. He recommended Black serve his sentence in a British Columbia institution where he will be distanced from media coverage and have access to indigenous cultural programming.
A psychiatrist testified last week that officials can’t presume to understand Black and what he’s capable of, given what he did to Bird in spite of having no known history of violence.