After two weeks of testimony and two weeks of tears for the family of Hannah Leflar, the sentencing hearing for the teen who killed her has wrapped up.
“It’s been really disgusting and really hard to listen to,” said Hannah’s mother, Janet Leflar, outside Court of Queen’s Bench in Regina. “Every time we walk into court the scab gets ripped off again so how do we grieve? I need to grieve for my daughter and I can’t because we keep getting pulled back in.”
The final day of the hearing included a first. Taking a long pause and a deep breath, Hannah’s killer spoke out for the first time in court.
“I cannot apologize enough. I’m sorry and I regret it,” he said.
Reading from a two-page handwritten apology, the now 19-year-old said “I won’t let this happen again.”
Wearing a burgundy shirt and black jeans, the teen claimed he was “not in a stable state of mind” at the time of the murder, and “would complete any and all programming to better myself.”
He only mentioned Hannah’s name once.
“Here on out, I’ll be doing good for Hannah.”
Through elders, a chaplain and spiritual guidance, the teen claimed “I’m not a man of God, but a man of peaceful intentions.”
Turning to the direction of the Leflar family, he said “I know you won’t forgive me but I will continue to ask God for forgiveness.”
After he finished reading his apology, the teen sat down, wiping his eye.
Janet called his statements “bullshit,” and said there was no actual apology as the comments were centred on him.
She said she will never forgive him.
The Crown responds
Crown lawyer Chris White began his closing argument by stating the teen’s statement “flies in the face of evidence.”
White argued the teen felt regret, not remorse.
“He feels regret for what Hannah’s murder has done to him,” White said.
Reiterating the planned nature of the murder in January 2015, White stated the teen had plenty of times to stop the killing that day, but instead “took steps to ensure it happened.”
White acknowledged the teen likely regrets his decision, but argued “regretting your situation is one thing, regretting what he has done to others is another.”
As for the talk of suicide, White argued it comes “not from shame, but anger.”
White believed the talk of self-harm is manipulative, to avoid an adult sentence, and is the teen’s attempt to control the situation.
The defence closing argument
Defence lawyer Corinne Maeder reminded court of the reports offered by the psychologists during the over two-week long sentencing hearing.
Maeder argued the teen has no criminal record before this, has a small chance to re-offend and “has mental health issues.”
Pointing to the regret the teen has shown, Justice Jennifer Pritchard asked Maeder if there is evidence to point to whether he means that.
“The only evidence is what he is telling people,” Pritchard said.
The Crown wants the teen sentenced as an adult. White argued the Youth Criminal Justice Act does not provide a long enough sentence to hold the teen accountable, to rehabilitate him nor does it reflect the severity of the crime.
The judge adjourned the matter to July 5 when it’s expected a decision whether the sentence will be youth or adult. White also believes the sentence will come down on that day as well.
— With files from Kevin Martel.