Faint hope

Saskatchewan Provincial Court in Prince Albert, where Black's hearing is being held.

Tuesday, in the second day Leslie Black’s dangerous offender hearing, he heard just how slim his release chances might be.

Black, who pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of Marlene Bird, is at risk of being put away for an indeterminate sentence. As he listened from a glass box, witness James Gonzo of Correctional Service Canada told the court exactly how many dangerous offenders with that sentence have tasted freedom.

As of December 2015, he said, there were 120 of them incarcerated in the Prairie region, which includes Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Technically, they’re up for parole after seven years. But Gonzo said that, across the region, only four indeterminate dangerous offenders are currently out of prison.

Black’s lawyer, Brent Little, put it starkly.

“In reality, they don’t get released,” he told the Daily Herald. “It’s possible, but in reality they don’t.”

For more on this story, see the March 15 print or e-edition of the Daily Herald.