The man charged with a triple-stabbing in Vancouver’s Chinatown last weekend was deemed a “significant threat” to the public in April by B.C.’s Review Board, but nonetheless given an unescorted day pass by a hospital director this month.
The board decision for Blair Evan Donnelly on April 13 paints a picture of a man prone to sudden acts of violence without warning, unable to assess his own mental state and needing constant supervision, according to a copy of the seven-page document obtained by CHEK News.
Donnelly stabbed his 16-year-old daughter to death in Kitimat in 2006 but was found not criminally responsible due to mental disorder, and placed under the supervision of the B.C. Review Board. He’s since been involved in two violent incidents while in custody.
“The Board concluded that Mr. Donnelly continues to meet the threshold of significant threat,” the board wrote in its April decision.
“The index offence took the life of the accused’s daughter, and the subsequent offences were also violent with the use of weapons. Of significant concern regarding risk assessment, is that all the incidents occurred without warning signs and that the two relapses occurred after lengthy periods of remission without any indicators of decompensation.”
“When ill, Mr. Donnelly has no insight into his deterioration. He requires significant supervision to ensure he does not cause further harm to the public. He continues to require the oversight of the Review Board.”
Despite this, the director of of the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam issued him an unescorted day pass this month under board conditions that allow for discretion “depending on his mental condition, having regard to the risk the accused then poses to himself or others.”
Premier David Eby has ordered an independent review of how Donnelly could possibly have been released, given his history of violence. Donnelly now faces three counts of aggravated assault. The victims suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
The B.C. Review Board decision in April also highlighted another serious breach of public safety involving Donnelly’s care, when he was placed in an unstaffed and unsupervised cottage without the knowledge of the board or his physicians last year.
Donnelly was unsupervised for days, and came after a period where staff had noticed a change in abrupt and assertive behaviour. The board expressed concern Donnelly could have potentially been left in an unstaffed cottage for weeks, had a doctor not discovered the problem.
The board decision is full of warnings of public safety risks, including from forensic psychiatrist Dr. Mandee Saini.
“Dr. Saini testified that Mr. Donnelly presents a high risk of relapse given his pattern of rapid decompensation and violence in the past,” read the review board document.
“The accused has reoffended after long periods of remission between violent episodes and without any significant warning signs, which Dr. Saini described as being a unique feature of his mental illness.
“Therefore, a cautious approach is necessary to protect the public. Mr. Donnelly has complained that his reintegration is too slow, and this suggests he lacks understanding of the level of risk he poses to the community.”
Read the full decision below: