Leslie Black’s application to reverse guilty plea in Marlene Bird assault denied by judge
Published Friday, June 3, 2016 1:12PM CST Last Updated Friday, June 3, 2016 6:48PM CST
A Prince Albert man charged with aggravated sexual assault and attempted murder will not be able to change his guilty plea, a judge has decided.
Leslie Black pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of Marlene Bird in April of 2015. Earlier this year, he asked the court if he could reverse that plea.
Justice Hugh Harradence denied that request in Prince Albert Provincial Court Friday.
Harradence said Black was aware of what he was pleading guilty to.
"I find that given this accused's level of understandings and the discussions which took place between him and his counsel, he made a conscious and voluntary decision to plead guilty for reasons that were appropriate to him,” Harradence wrote in his decision.
Black’s defence lawyer Brent Little argued Black has cognitive issues and a child-like quality, which could of impacted his decision in pleading guilty to attempted murder.
During his expungement hearing in April, Black said his previous lawyer advised him to plead guilty to the attempted murder charge, saying the sexual assault charge would be dropped. But Black said he didn’t realize his plea could mean he could get dangerous offender status, which could result in a life sentence.
Harradence said while Black struggled with decision to admit the intent to kill Bird, his guilty plea shouldn’t be reversed.
“He signed an agreed statement of facts and written instructions to his lawyer, both of which are clear and unambiguous,” Harradence wrote. “He may now be questioning his decision, but in my view, there is nothing in the evidence that would suggest his guilty plea is invalid or should be set aside.”
Black was charged with aggravated sexual assault and attempted murder after Bird was found, barely conscious, in a downtown Prince Albert parking lot in June 2014. She had been viciously beaten and set on fire.
Bird suffered third-degree burns and was so badly wounded that both her legs required amputation. Half of her forehead down to her chin was lacerated.
Black will be back in Prince Albert court June 8.
--- Based on a report by CTV Prince Albert's Sarah Komadina