Homeless woman who was viciously beaten attends attacker’s hearing

Victim in homeless attack attends hearing

PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. — A Saskatchewan woman whose legs had to be amputated after she was viciously beaten and burned has attended the opening of a dangerous offender hearing for the man who pleaded guilty in the case.

Marlene Bird, who was homeless when she was attacked by Leslie Ivan Black in Prince Albert, arrived in her wheelchair as the hearing got underway on Monday afternoon.

She left partway through the proceedings.

Black appeared in person but did not speak and sat in the prisoner’s box wearing prison sweats.

If designated a dangerous offender, Black could be imprisoned for an indeterminate amount of time.

Black unsuccessfully attempted to withdraw his guilty plea last summer, arguing he would not have entered it had he known a dangerous offender designation was possible.

Provincial court Judge Stanley Loewen told the hearing that photographs of Bird’s injuries may be presented as evidence and warned the images are disturbing.

Bird was found clinging to life in a parking lot outside a community centre in downtown Prince Albert in June 2014. She was burned so badly that doctors had to amputate both her legs. She has also had several surgeries for skin grafts.

Proceedings opened Monday with testimony from Trina Debler, programs manager at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary, who explained the details of the various offender programs offered by Correctional Service Canada.

She noted programming is still available to dangerous offenders.

Two weeks have been set aside for the hearing at Prince Albert provincial court, but Crown prosecutor Jeff Lubyk said he anticipates the Crown will close its case Thursday.

Other corrections experts and several doctors and psychologists are also expected to testify.


The Canadian Press

Canadian Press