The evidence phase of Leslie Ivan Black’s dangerous offender hearing concluded Tuesday with Black speaking in his own defence.
Black pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted murder in connection with a vicious assault dating back to 2014.
Court heard Black beat and sexually assaulted Marlene Bird before lighting her on fire, which led to the amputation of both her legs and permanent damage to her eyesight.
The hearing to determine if Black is deemed a dangerous offender and possibly subject to an indefinite prison sentence, has been running since March 13 at Prince Albert Provincial Court.
Although not called as a witness, Black was given the opportunity to speak Tuesday morning.
He read from a brief statement prepared with help from Brent Little, his court-appointed lawyer.
Little warned that Black’s stutter, which he has had since witnessing his mother’s murder as a child, could make him difficult to understand.
Despite his speech impediment, Black spoke clearly as he read from behind the glass of the prisoner’s box.
“I apologize for what I did,” Black said. “I still can’t forgive myself.”
Black said if he could go back to the night he attacked Bird, he would have taken his father’s advice and stayed home. He said he understood Bird and her family have not forgiven him, and said he accepts any sentence he is given.
Black said he is not a violent person, and wants to get the help he needs to succeed in life.
“I’m usually a happy-go-lucky guy,” he said.
Bird attended several days of the hearing and spoke to media briefly last week. She was not in court Tuesday to hear her attacker’s apology.
Judge Stanley Loewen thanked Black for his statement and said he would take it into account when making his decision.
Loewen also thanked Little and Crown Prosecutor Jeff Lubyk for their work on the case, which he said was fairly presented by the Crown and properly responded to by the defence.
Although no further evidence will be presented, the hearing will continue with the submission of briefs and formal arguments from both sides in May. Loewen said he intends to see the case concluded before summer.
In the meantime, Black will continue to be held on remand at Regina Correctional Centre.