Forensic psychiatrist testifies at Leslie Black hearing

By Taylor MacPherson
March 15, 2017 - 2:00pm

According to a forensic psychiatrist who testified in court, Leslie Black is a man capable of extreme violence who is haunted by childhood trauma. 

Black’s dangerous offender hearing has been running since Monday at Prince Albert Provincial Court. Black pleaded guilty to attempted murder in connection with a vicious attack that left a woman severely injured and required the amputation of both her legs. Court heard Black had sex with his victim before beating her and lighting her clothing on fire. If designated a dangerous offender, he could be given an indeterminate prison sentence.

Dr. Shabehram Lohrasbe, a forensic psychiatrist of more than 30 years’ experience, authored a 32-page report detailing Black’s psychology after conducting a four-hour interview. In his evidence this morning, March 15, Lohrasbe said Black suffered from many issues, but none of them explained the sudden and extreme violence used in his 2014 attack.

“We have to be extremely cautious in presuming that we understand this man and understand what he’s capable of,” Lohrasbe said.

Lohrasbe said Black suffers from a personality trait known as alexithymia, meaning he struggles to identify and describe his emotions. This trait, Lohrasbe said, developed along with a severe stutter after Black witnessed his mother being stabbed to death on his ninth birthday.

Black, Lohrasbe said, also struggled with substance abuse throughout his life.

“He was injecting stuff he didn’t even know what it was,” Lohrasbe said. “It’s a surprise he’s alive today.”

In addition to his substance abuse, Lohrasbe said Black displayed several other factors which place him at risk for anti-social behaviour including a total absence of close friendships and employment. Of particular concern for Lohrasbe was Black’s history of fire-setting, which he said shows severe recklessness.

Most concerning to Lohrasbe, however, was the fact that the Black’s highly-violent attack was not predicted by his previous criminal record, which largely consisted of property and drug-related offenses.

“This is a very different type of case,” Lohrasbe said. “Typically when you have extreme violence there’s a buildup.”

Currently, Lohrasbe said, Black is being treated with a battery of medications. Black, Lohrasbe said, takes two anti-depressants, a low-dose anti-psychotic and several HIV medications, and was previous taking methadone to help manage opioid cravings.

Cross-examination by Black’s Saskatoon-based defence lawyer Brent Little is expected to begin this afternoon.

 

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