Hannah Leflar killer not a candidate for youth intensive rehabilitative program

Due to his age, treatment needs and jail time, Hannah Leflar's killer cannot go into the province's Intensive Rehabilitative Custody Supervision program.

19-year-old man would age out of youth facility at age 20 where IRCS is available, co-ordinator says

The sentencing hearing will be to determine if the accused should be sentenced as an adult. (CBC)

The killer of 16-year-old Hannah Leflar is not a candidate for a rehabilitation program for young offenders with mental health issues, court heard Thursday.

The provincial co-ordinator for the Intensive Rehabilitative Custody Supervision program testified at the sentencing hearing for a 19-year-old man who pleaded guilty to killing Leflar.

Jennifer Peterson said that to be eligible for the program, which is available to youths only who have been convicted of a violent crime, there must also be a diagnosis of some type of mental health issue though the decision is ultimately up to the province's Ministry of Justice.

The man was diagnosed with mild depression as a child but is not clinically depressed nor does he have schizophrenia, despite claims he heard voices. 

In this case, justice officials decided the 19-year-old is not a candidate due to factors such as his age, treatment needs, and length of jail time.

The man cannot stay within a youth facility after he turns 20. When the man is sentenced, he will serve part of his sentence in provincial jail before being moved to a federal penitentiary. 

The IRCS program would not be available there. 

54 % chance to re-offend

On Thursday afternoon Elizabeth Christoffel took the stand. She is a community youth worker and works with youth who are in the IRCS program. She also wrote the teen's pre-sentence report.

She interviewed the teen, his parents, his former principal, a school psychologist, school police officer, staff at the Paul Dojack Youth Centre and Hannah Leflar's family.

She administered an LSI (Level of Service Inventory) risk assessment tool. It determined there was a 54 per cent chance he would re-offend.

Out of eight risk factors, two were marked as strengths and six were marked as concerns.

Strengths were a lack of substance abuse and no previous criminal sentences.

Concerns included problems in school, lack of leisure and recreation involvement and family support.

Christoffel said it didn't appear the teen identified the impact of his offence on others. She said the teen told her he thought Leflar's mother was "drinking and partying" following Hannah's death.

Christoffel cited other concerns which included problems with anger management, low social and coping skills.

She said during their six to eight meetings the teen was "well-mannered, polite and respectful".

In the 12 months leading up to the murder, the teen had 54 per cent attendance in high school. 

Most Improved

The 19-year-old's lawyer said for the year 2015-16, the teen was awarded most improved male at the Paul Dojack Youth Centre. The teen's lawyer said over the 753 days he's spent on remand, he has been well behaved.

The facility uses a rating system. The teen's lawyer said her client has been involved in three incidents in custody which caused his level to drop but otherwise has been at the highest rating level.

Professional opinions

The accused was 16 when he killed Leflar in January 2015 and cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. 

The hearing is to determine whether or not the accused should be sentenced as an adult.

A child psychiatrist, a pediatric psychiatrist and a psychologist, all of whom have had interactions with the killer, have testified at the sentencing hearing. 

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

Child psychiatrist Brent Harold, however, said the man expressed "psychopathic tendencies" and feels he did not express remorse for Leflar's death. 

"The kind of treatment he needs would be intense and would take a lot of time," Harold said. 

Harold said the man thought he would be guaranteed a youth sentence if he pleaded guilty. The man has threatened suicide if he is sentenced as an adult.

Another man who was also involved in the plan to kill Leflar pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in February. He cannot be identified due to his age at the time of the crime.

The hearing is expected to last two weeks.

with files from Adam Hunter