Saskatchewan

'It's painful': Marlene Bird faces attacker during dangerous offender hearing

A Saskatchewan judge has dismissed an application for dangerous offender status for Leslie Black.

Leslie Black pleaded guilty to beating and setting Marlene Bird on fire in Prince Albert in 2014

Marlene Bird outside Prince Albert provincial court on Wednesday after attending her attacker's dangerous offender hearing. (Dan Zakreski/CBC)

Marlene Bird, who lost vision in one eye and both of her legs as the result a violent attack three years ago, was crying as she left provincial court in Prince Albert on Wednesday afternoon.

Bird was in court to present a victim impact statement at a dangerous offender hearing for Leslie Black, the man responsible for Bird's injuries.

Black pleaded guilty to attempted murder after he violently beat Bird and set her on fire in 2014.

"I'd like to see him sentenced for most of his life," she told reporters. "He'll do it to somebody else."

Judge Stan Loewen said Black did not meet the criteria for dangerous offender status, which would keep him behind bars indefinitely. Instead, a long-term supervision order has been issued.

Bird has been through two amputations and several other surgeries needed because of the severity of the injuries she suffered. (Ryan Pilon/CBC)

Loewen said the Crown hadn't proven Black's future actions cannot be trusted. He also noted while Black has psychiatric issues, he is not a psychopath.

"It seems to me that Mr. Black, even though he has avoided the designation of dangerous offender ... has anything but a an easy road ahead of him," Loewen wrote in the decision.

Bird, a residential school survivor who had been homeless at the time of the attack, had both of her legs amputated after the attack.

"He didn't even say sorry," she said. "He just looked at me and looked down."

According to the Criminal Code, in order for a person to be deemed a dangerous offender, the following must be satisfied: 

  • The offence for which the offender has been convicted is a serious personal injury offence as defined by the Criminal Code.
  • The offender constitutes a threat to the life, safety, or physical or mental well-being of others on the basis of evidence. That evidence must establish that any behaviour by the offender, associated with the offence for which he or she has been convicted, is of such a brutal nature as to compel the conclusion that the offender's behaviour in the future is unlikely to be inhibited by normal standards of behavioural restraint.

The dangerous offender hearing started in March. The judge reserved his decision on the matter after final arguments were made in June. 

Sentencing arguments will be heard in September.

The judge said he expected a lengthy penitentiary term in the case.

Loewen suggested to both Crown and defence that a recent Court of Queen's Bench case out of Saskatoon where a man received a 15-year sentence for attempted murder would be a good reference case to work from.

With files from Dan Zakreski

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