Dangerous sexual sadist refused right to appeal: Supreme Court dismisses bid by Vancouver man

The Vancouver Sun
Friday 15 Mar 2002

Sue Bailey
Canadian Press

OTTAWA -- A Vancouver man who viciously beat a prostitute he planned to kidnap and possibly kill won't get a chance to appeal his dangerous offender designation before Canada's top court.

Michael Stephen Leopold, who had confessed to his psychiatrist that he planned to enslave and possibly kill prostitutes and had a dungeon room in his basement, was declared a dangerous offender by the B.C. Court of Appeal last May and given an open-ended prison term.

The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed his bid to appeal that ruling Thursday, offering no reasons, as is usual.

Leopold was sentenced in 2000 to 11 years in prison for aggravated assault, taking into account 34 months spent in pre-trial custody.

The trial judge found he was a sexual sadist likely to reoffend, but did not deem him a dangerous offender because he didn't believe Leopold met the so-called "brutality test."

For example, Leopold, then 38, had no prior convictions for violence or brutality.

The three appeal court judges unanimously overturned the trial judge's ruling. They declared Leopold a dangerous offender and substituted an indeterminate sentence.

He will have his first parole hearing after he serves seven years, as required by law, but can be detained indefinitely.

Leopold attacked a 33-year-old prostitute in an industrial area after picking her up in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside on Sept. 14, 1996.

He later told a Vancouver psychiatrist, retained by his defence lawyer, that the attack was a trial run for a fantasy he had to enslave and possibly kill prostitutes.

He had even made a special dungeon room in his basement with a deadbolt on the door, he told the doctor.

The woman fought back, and her screams drew a passerby who scared Leopold off.

He turned himself in to police three days later.

Leopold's confession to the psychiatrist, Dr. Roy O'Shaughnessy, was itself the subject of a Supreme Court of Canada challenge in 1999. The doctor went to court to get permission to breach confidentiality and reveal the details.

The high court upheld lower court rulings that O'Shaughnessy could testify about Leopold's true intentions and his ultimate fantasy.

That sealed Leopold's fate for a long stay behind bars.

Before the Crown heard from the psychiatrist, it had agreed to a sentence of two years less a day.

Eastside Vancouver Missing Women

Families criticize police for not doing enough-1999



Missing Women Tip Line: 1-877-687-3377

Updated: August 21, 2016