Judge to determine if Leslie Black can recant guilty plea

By Spencer Sterritt
May 12, 2016 - 3:20pm

A man who pleaded guilty to attempted murder is one step closer to knowing if he can remove his plea from the court record after closing arguments in a hearing today, May 12.

Leslie Black appeared at Prince Albert Provincial Court Thursday, May 12 for closing arguments after an expungement hearing in April. He pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of Marlene Bird in April 2015, an attack which left her horribly burned, nearly blind and in need of a double leg amputation. Now, he wants to recant his plea.

Black’s defense counsel Brent Little repeated his argument that Black’s former lawyer Adam Masiowski had not properly explained the ramifications of pleading guilty, especially the details of possibly being listed as a dangerous offender.

The designation means an offender could spend the rest of their life in jail. During the hearing, Black said he would have never pleaded guilty if he knew the designation was a possibility.

“You can’t understand something that was never explained,” Little told Judge Hugh Harradence.

Much of the hearing had centered on Black’s mental capacity. Masiowski said he had a “child-like mind” and Little referred to him as “a simple man.”

Harradence asked numerous times if there was any proof Black had “cognitive deficits.” Little said one only needed to see and hear Black on the stand to understand his mental capacity, which Harradence said was not enough.

The Crown said given the severity of the crimes Black pleaded guilty to, a life sentence was already on the table, whether he was listed as a dangerous offender or not.

A decision will be handed down June 1 at Prince Albert Provincial Court.


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