Leslie Black could pose a “catastrophic” danger of reoffending, according to a forensic psychologist who testified at his dangerous offender hearing.
Black has pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of Marlene Bird, who he beat and set on fire in June 2014. At his hearing on Wednesday, Dr. Shabehram Lohrasbe rated the 31-year-old Black as a “high risk” to the community.
Lohrasbe admitted that predicting Black’s future behaviour is difficult, given the “unremarkable” history of “petty” crime that preceded his offence.
But the psychologist expressed shock at the brutality of the attack, which left Bird with a disfigured face and amputated legs.
He said he’s completed about 1,000 forensic assessments during his long career, and has never seen another case where a living victim was set on fire.
“He may only reoffend once in his life, but because of the potentially catastrophic nature of that harm, one has to treat him with extreme caution.”
Lohrasbe spoke with Black for about four hours in the Regina Correctional Centre. He found an “unsophisticated and immature” man with significant cognitive deficits. During their interview, in 2015, they discussed Black’s childhood of sexual abuse, neglect and instability – including the horror he witnessed on his ninth birthday.
That day, Black saw his mother murdered. Her common-law partner stabbed her, repeatedly, in front of her two children. He left, returned with a different knife, and continued the attack.
“He did have one of the most traumatic backgrounds of an offender that I have addressed,” Lohrasbe said of Black. “It’s hard to overcome the damage that does to a human being.”
For more on this story, see the March 16 print and e-edition of the Daily Herald.