The sentencing hearing for an 18-year-old Cape Breton man convicted of the grisly murder of his girlfriend continues in Sydney this week with testimony from a court-ordered psychiatric assessment.

In August, the teenager was found guilty of second-degree murder after stabbing his 17-year-old girlfriend more than a 100 times. He was 16 years old at the time of the murder, which happened in Whitney Pier in December 2010.

The man's name and the victim's name are shielded by a publication ban under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The hearing, which began Monday, will be used to determine whether the teenager should be sentenced as a youth or as an adult. If he's sentenced as an adult, the 18-year-old faces a sentence of life in prison. If he's sentenced as a youth, he faces a maximum sentence of seven years — four in custody and three under community supervision.

The testimony presented thus far by the Crown paints a picture of a man who has wrestled with his aggression-related issues his entire life.

Rozanna Wyatt, a clinical social worker at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, was part of a team who spoke with the man's mother, his probation officer and others who know him. She also reviewed his criminal history as a youth.

Wyatt testified the teenager took an interest in setting fires when he was four years old and by the time he was six, he started to steal lunches from kids at school. He also kicked and choked his two cats when he was a child, Wyatt said.

Decision expected Dec. 10

Wyatt also testified the man has numerous criminal convictions as a youth, including assault with a weapon and uttering threats, theft and breaking and entering.

Court also heard the man's violent actions haven't stopped while in custody — he has been in two fights while in jail. In one fight, he was stopped from stomping on another inmate's head.

Dr. Aileen Brunet, a psychiatrist and the clinical director with the East Coast Forensic Hospital in Dartmouth, said the man has been diagnosed as having a severe disruptive behaviour disorder.

She said he shows aggression toward others and doesn't mind destroying property. Brunet testified the man needs treatment for substance abuse and anger problems.

The defense will present its witnesses later this week.

Judge Anne Derrick is expected to deliver her sentence on Dec. 10.