PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. –A psychologist says a man who beat, raped and then set a woman on fire is not necessarily at 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 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, Sask.
If Black is designated a dangerous offender, he will face an indeterminate prison sentence.
Nicholaichuk, who was testifying for the defence, described Black as cognitively compromised, but not emotionless or sociopathic.
He says Black requires intensive, long-term therapy, but does not have an ongoing “pattern of brutality” which 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 an 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. Nicholaichuk 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 even though he had no history of violence.