Crown takes issue with psychologist’s testimony in Hannah Leflar murder sentencing
Crown prosecutor Chris White called witness testimony from Dr. Terry Nicholaichuk “incorrect,” and it’s why the Crown asked for a reply witness.
On the stand Wednesday, psychologist Nicholaichuk testified that there was a complete lack of available treatment options for people in custody at a federal penitentiary.
According to White, some of that testimony was incorrect and he asked for a senior official from Correctional Services of Canada (CSC) to testify to “correct the record.”
“The language the witness used [Wednesday] was fairly strong and the way he delivered that was with a great degree of certainty… I think [his] experience was a bit dated based on what the CSC officials advised us of,” White told reporters outside the courtroom.
He said it was of concern as he didn’t want the last word for Justice Pritchard to have been “somehow inaccurate”.
“We needed to make the application to call evidence in reply to correct the record,” White said.
Justice Pritchard also commented on Nicholaichuk’s remarks, saying she was “taken aback” by his statements Wednesday and it was an “influential testimony.”
“There is nothing for this young man in an adult [sentence]. I’d be throwing him there and throwing away the key,” she told the courtroom.
“I actually really want to have this additional information.”
A senior official from CSC is expected to speak to what treatment options are available.
““I’m hopeful that the official from CSC will share with the court what treatment would be available… what it would entail, the intensity of that treatment, where it would be administered,” he said.
“That’s another issue we took with Dr. Nicholaichuk’s comments, that the regional psych centre wasn’t an available resource. Our information is that to the contrary it is.”
Court also heard arguments from the defence – arguing for a review of the youth’s Intensive Rehabilitative Custody and Supervision (IRCS) sentence.
An IRCS sentence is essentially a youth sentence. To be eligible for an IRCS sentence the youth must have been found guilty of a violent crime including murder, attempted murder, manslaughter or aggravated sexual assault. The person must also have a mental health issue.
An IRCS treatment plan would include specialized therapeutic programs and services for youths with mental health needs.
Last week, court heard from IRCS provincial coordinator Jennifer Petersen that the youth was not considered for the IRCS sentence, citing his age, available treatment needs, length of sentence as some of the reasons considered for not offering the program to the youth.
Defence lawyer James Struthers argued the process in how they reached that decision was “just an awful awful mess,” and it was “lacking entirely of transparency.”
Struthers is calling for Justice Pritchard to review that decision.
Court is expected to hear from a CSC official on Friday. Victim-impact statements will also be read.
Some family members have chosen to read their statement aloud while others will be read by White.
The defence declined an interview request with Global News.Follow @ChristaDao
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