Crown to seek jail time for 'narcissistic' ex-politician Leaman

Gary Leaman arrives at the Penticton court house Monday afternoon for sentencing on two counts of sexual assault which he pleaded guilty to in January of this year.  - Mark Brett/Western News
Gary Leaman arrives at the Penticton court house Monday afternoon for sentencing on two counts of sexual assault which he pleaded guilty to in January of this year.
— image credit: Mark Brett/Western News

An inflated sense of self-importance is common in people like Gary Leaman who have a narcissistic personality disorder, a psychiatrist said Monday at the former Penticton city councillor’s sentencing hearing.

Leaman pleaded guilty in January to two counts of sexual assault that occurred between 2009 and 2011. Details of the offences are covered by a routine publication ban to shield the victims’ identities.

The 59-year-old’s sentencing hearing began Monday afternoon in provincial court in Penticton, but was adjourned until Sept. 12.

A forensic psychiatrist who prepared a pre-sentence report on Leaman told the court that test results led her to conclude Leaman has a narcissistic personality disorder, traits of which include “limited empathy” and a “grandiose sense of self-importance.”

Leaman “may believe that he is special or unique and can only be understood by, or associate with, other special or high-status individuals or institutions,” explained Dr. Nalini Joneja.

“In such cases where he does not receive the special treatment, the positive reinforcement or the admiration to which he feels entitled, he’s likely to react with rage and contempt by attacking, degrading or belittling others.”

Defence counsel Michael Welsh spent an hour cross-examining Joneja  about her report, including errors regarding the birthplaces of Leaman and his sister, where Leaman attended college, and at which hotel Leaman worked after graduation.

Leaman, wearing a goatee, yellow shirt, grey pants and a grey-and-black tie, then testified himself about the errors, and expanded on others elements of the report, such as a detail about him inviting a Buddhist monk to stay at his condominium at Apex Mountain.

The monk, he explained, is one with whom he’s been studying the religion in the Lower Mainland and who suffers from “severe concussion syndrome,” which may be helped by staying at the quiet condo.

“It was simply a kind gesture,” Leaman said, adding, “I knew I was going to jail” and wouldn’t be using the home.

Crown counsellor Catherine Crockett told the court she will cross-examine Leaman when the hearing resumes in September. She has not yet stated her sentencing position, but told reporters she’ll be seeking jail time.

Leaman faces a maximum of 18 months in jail on each of the two counts.

Judge Gale Sinclair told both Crockett and Welsh of his “displeasure” in learning the sentencing hearing would take longer than the scheduled half-day.

Leaman served one term as a Penticton city councillor from 2002 to 2005, but was not re-elected, and failed in two subsequent runs at municipal office.

He retired in October 2013 from his long-time job as manager of Cherry Lane Shopping Centre, and the charges were sworn in November.

Leaman remains free on $750 bail, but has surrendered his passport and agreed to stay within B.C.


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