'Psychopath' harmful term, may not apply to Hannah Leflar's killer, says psychologist called as expert witness

The lawyer for Hannah Leflar's killer called an expert witness on Wednesday who said the killer is emotionally immature but did not display psychopathic tendencies.

Psychologist found teen to have low chance to re-offend within 7 to 9 years after release

This photo was taken at Hannah's 16th birthday party. (CBC)

A psychologist called as an expert witness by the lawyer for the man who killed Hannah Leflar said the killer could have a borderline personality disorder, but suggested the term "psychopath" may not apply to the 19-year-old.

On Wednesday, Terry Nicholaichuk told the sentencing hearing for the 19-year-old at Regina's Court of Queen's Bench that he met with the teen four times in March, and described him as downcast and emotionally flat in the meetings.

During the meetings, Nicholaichuk said he administered a psychopathy test which had a maximum score of 40 points. The higher the score, the more likely a person is to display psychopathic traits.

Nicholaichuk said Leflar's killer scored 8.4 out of 40. By comparison, people who meet the criteria for psychopathy could score 30 or higher. The average federal inmate had a score of 20.

"The term 'psychopath' is a pejorative. It can do somebody a lot of damage," Nicholaichuk said.

He said he did find traits in the teen which could suggest a borderline personality disorder or a depressive disorder.

The teen, who cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, was 16 when, in January 2015, he stabbed Leflar to death in her home in Regina. He pleaded guilty to first-degree murder last year.

A second opinion

Psychiatrist Brent Harold testified last week that the teen had displayed "psychopathic tendencies" which he had only seen in a handful of youths out of thousands, Leflar's killer included.

A community youth worker with the Intensive Rehabilitative Custody Supervision program said the teen has a 54 per cent chance of re-offending.

Nicholaichuk, by comparison, said the teen had a 8.5 per cent chance of re-offending seven to nine years after release.

Nicholaichuk also said the teen had not made any emotional attachments to anyone and suicide would be a possibility if he did not receive proper treatment.

The Crown will question Nicholaichuk Wednesday afternoon.

Hearing expected to wrap Wednesday

The sentencing hearing heard last week that the teen obsessed over Leflar leading up to her death.

It was frequently mentioned throughout the sentencing hearing that the teen had harmed himself on one occasion and has threatened suicide if he were to receive an adult sentence.

Psychologist Elizabeth McGrath and pediatric psychiatrist Oladapo Soyemi have testified that the killer had expressed remorse to them.

The sentencing hearing for the killer, which began May 8, is expected to wrap up Wednesday. The hearing will determine whether or not he should be sentenced as an adult.

An adult sentence carries a term of life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years while a youth sentence would amount to 10 years, involving time both in and out of custody.

With files from Adam Hunter