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History shows Melvin's risk high, doctor testifies at dangerous-offender hearing

Jimmy Melvin Jr. is being sentenced on charges of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder. The Crown wants him declared a dangerous offender and locked up indefinitely. - TIM KROCHAK / The Chronicle Herald / File
A dangerous-offender hearing got underway Monday for Jimmy Melvin Jr., who is being sentenced in Nova Scotia Supreme Court on charges of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder. - Tim Krochak / File

Jimmy Melvin Jr. poses a high risk to commit further acts of violence, a forensic psychiatrist testified Monday at a dangerous-offender hearing in Nova Scotia Supreme Court.

Dr. Shabehram Lohrasbe said Melvin’s behaviour has changed very little since he was a teenager, when he expressed anger and acted out.

“We see (threats made toward correctional officers) with younger offenders in moments of anger,” Lohrasbe said. “But it’s not common to see it continuing into a man well past his 20s and now in his 30s.”

Melvin, 38, has more than 60 convictions on his adult criminal record and is serving a federal sentence for assault and other offences from run-ins with guards at Nova Scotia jails.

He is being sentenced on charges of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder, from a plot to kill rival gangster Terry Marriott Jr. that was foiled by police in December 2008.

Melvin was found guilty by a Halifax jury in October 2017.

Now, Crown attorneys Rick Woodburn, Christine Driscoll and Sean McCarroll are looking to have him declared a dangerous offender and locked up indefinitely.

Lohrasbe walked the court through his assessment of Melvin as the hearing got underway Monday.

The doctor, who is based in British Columbia, the prosecution team and defence lawyer Laura McCarthy participated by video teleconference, while Justice Peter Rosinski, defence lawyer Ray Kuszelewski and Melvin were present in the courtroom.

Lohrasbe noted there has been a lot of documentation on Melvin over the years, but the “overall picture that emerges is quite clear.”

“We have this relentless documentation of him being a very angry individual and embracing the criminal lifestyle that celebrates the expression of anger through violence,” Lohrasbe said.

“For much of the documentation, there is no sign that he is interested, even if he could, in altering that.”

Lohrasbe said the Halifax man showed no motivation to take part in any correctional programs or start the process to change his behaviour.

Before Melvin is considered for programs, however, Lohrasbe said he would have to demonstrate multiple behaviours, such as ceasing the pattern of verbal and physical assaults of correctional officers and not accessing or using substances, for an extended period of time.

But Lohrasbe said his impression of Melvin, who admitted he was on substances during his interview and uses almost every day while in custody, was that he couldn’t imagine going without illegal or illicitly used drugs.

“The entire field of risk assessment begins and ends, in a sense, with the phrase' past predicts future,'” Lohrasbe said. “One addition to that is past violence predicts the likelihood of future violence.”

Lohrasbe said most of what was written about Melvin in previous assessments could still apply to him today.

"I agree with the characterization of his risk for violence is high," he said. "When the pattern is well-established, then the opinion that the risk is high can be delivered in a very confident way."

If Melvin is designated a dangerous offender, Rosinski could order him imprisoned indefinitely unless the court is satisfied that a lesser measure would adequately protect the public.

Woodburn expects to finish questioning Lohrasbe Tuesday morning.

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