Psychologist's testimony questioned at sentencing hearing for Hannah Leflar's killer

The judge at the sentencing hearing for Hannah Leflar's killer said Wednesday's expert witness testimony was "influential."

Killer's lawyer claims denial of treatment through intensive rehabilitation program lacks transparency

Hannah Leflar, 16, was found dead in her home in Regina on Jan. 12, 2015. (CBC)

Expert testimony from a psychologist at the sentencing hearing of Hannah Leflar's killer raised concerns from the Crown prosecutor and judge on Thursday.

The testimony of psychologist Terry Nicholaichuk on Wednesday was "false or based on antiquated evidence," Crown prosecutor Chris White claimed on Thursday, the eighth day of the hearing in Regina.

On Wednesday, Nicholaichuk said while the 19-year-old killer may have a borderline personality disorder or a depressive disorder, he does not meet the criteria to be considered "psychopathic" — a term he said is "pejorative" and "can do somebody a lot of damage."

He also said programming for inmates within Saskatchewan penitentiaries is limited in scope and not individualized.

Justice Jennifer Pritchard wondered if Nicholaichuk was entitled to give the evidence he did, as he is not employed by Correctional Services Canada.

"I found it to be very, very influential evidence that [Nicholaichuk] gave yesterday," said Pritchard.

She said Nicholaichuk's testimony made her fear there would be no services available for the killer if he were to receive an adult sentence.

The teen cannot be named due to his age at the time of the killing. The hearing will determine whether he will be sentenced as an adult.

The teen has threatened self-harm and suicide if he were to receive an adult sentence and has harmed himself while in custody.

Not a candidate for rehabilitation program

The question of whether the 19-year-old killer should be eligible for the Intensive Rehabilitative Custody and Supervision program was also raised Thursday.

Justice officials had earlier determined the teen is not a candidate for the rehabilitation program for young offenders with mental health issues, due to the length of his sentence, his treatment needs and his age.

Jennifer Peterson, the provincial co-ordinator for the IRCS program, testified last week that other factors such as the severity of the crime, mental health and location are a factor. 

But James Struthers, one of the teen's lawyers, said the process lacked transparency.

Struthers said the decision letter from the Ministry of Justice is short and lacks proper detail. The Crown countered that only relevant information would need to be included in it. 

Struthers asked that the decision to deny the teen treatment through the rehabilitation program be quashed and reconsidered. 

When the killer turns 20, he will age out of the province's youth facilities and will eventually be transferred to a federal penitentiary where the IRCS program is unavailable. 

The Crown asked on Thursday that an employee from Correctional Services Canada be allowed to give details of their own on the question of the killer's treatment through the program.

Both parties have agreed to also have victim impact statements read out on Friday.

With files from CBC's Micki Cowan and Adam Hunter