PORT COQUITLAM, B.C. — The British Columbia Review Board has ruled that the man who killed his three children while severely mentally ill remains a threat to public safety, although it recommends Allan Schoenborn should be assessed for supervised outings within six months.
Schoenborn, who’s now 50 years old, has been held at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital since before a 2010 court decision that found him not criminally responsible for killing his daughter and two sons.
In a written decision released Wednesday, the three-member panel says Schoenborn is making progress in treatment, but it’s delayed by the risk of harm to him because he’s a target for others in the institution.
The Crown had asked that the review board remove the condition that Schoenborn be considered for escorted outings until he was mentally stable and his risk was manageable.
The panel members say in their decision that detention remains necessary, but note that Schoenborn is no different than others at the hospital who are granted access to the community.
The ruling says the unique obstacles to Schoenborn in this case are the acute level of threat to him and his public profile, something the man has no control over.
“Mr. Schoenborn has properly been subject to the full weight of the criminal justice system for close to a decade. There exists no principled reason or basis why he should be deprived of the policy objectives and presumptions Parliament has seen fit to entrench in the code for all (not criminally responsible) accused persons.”
The former Conservative government used Schoenborn as an example when it changed the law implementing a designation for a so-called high-risk accused.
The law would prevent offenders from being released from care and force them into treatment.
A judge ruled Schoenborn didn’t meet the criteria of a high-risk accused in 2017.
The review board ruling says if the recommendation to consider outings for Schoenborn isn’t implemented, then it may want to hold another hearing to reconsider mandating outings for Schoenborn.
In a partial dissenting ruling, board chairman Bernd Walter said he would have been persuaded to order highly limited outings for Schoenborn under strict conditions.
“I cannot recall another accused who, having demonstrated the clinical response and the therapeutic progress that Mr. Schoenborn has, would after nine years in custody continue to be denied such a modest step.”
The Canadian Press