A man found guilty but not criminally responsible for killing his three young children in 2008 should be allowed more access to the community, his lawyer argued at a B.C. Review Board hearing Thursday.
However, doctors and Crown prosecutors testifying at the annual review said Allan Schoenborn still has ongoing challenges with emotional regulation and anger management and struggles in situations where he feels he is being disrespected.
That should disqualify him from leaving the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam known as Colony Farm, where Schoenborn has been living since his 2010 conviction for first-degree murder, said his physician, Dr. Marcel Hediger, to the hearing’s tribunal.
“I don’t think staff-supported community outings are warranted at this time,” Hediger said.
Crown lawyers are echoing Hediger’s concerns, saying Schoenborn should be stripped of his ability to be granted escorted day passes out of the psychiatric hospital, a privilege that was upheld at an earlier review hearing in 2017.
Hediger told the hearing’s tribunal he doesn’t have a lot of confidence that Schoenborn would manage escorted visits to the community appropriately, citing an incident with a nurse at the hospital just this week.
The doctor also mentioned there would be concerns for public safety as well as Schoenborn’s own safety, since he has been the target of a murder plot and has been violently assaulted and threatened in the past.
The murder plot was allegedly hatched by two other patients at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital.
However Schoenborn’s lawyer, Rishi Gill, has continued to argue his client’s psychosis is under control, thanks to continued medical and psychiatric treatment, and is calling for mandatory staff supervised outings.
“He’s not looking to go to a department store to go shopping, he’s not looking to go to Ikea down the street. He’s not looking to go to Starbucks and have a Frappucino,” said Gill.
“What Mr. Schoenborn has always said is that he has work to do, he wants to get further along, and that’s going to be a lifelong process.”
Gill said Schoenborn is seeking extremely limited outings in the community, which could be as simple as a 30 minute drive in the back of a car driven by guards.
He said it could take the panel weeks to arrive at a decision.
Family says anger issues were there before
Former family members of Schoenborn are also hoping he’s kept out of the community until he is fully healed, including his former brother-in-law Mike Clark, whose sister Darcie was married to Schoenborn.
Clark said he attends the annual hearings on behalf of his family despite the emotional toll they take. He said Schoenborn’s anger issues were evident even before the murders.
“When we used to visit at his house, I used to see when somebody said something to him, he would really…get his back up and be very confrontational,” Clark said.
Schoenborn was found not criminally responsible for killing his daughter and two sons at his family’s home in Merritt, B.C., because he was experiencing psychosis at the time and thought he was saving his children from sexual and physical abuse, though no evidence suggested this was the case.
He also did not receive a “high-risk accused” label in 2017 after a B.C. Supreme Court judge argued Schoenborn does not pose a high enough risk that he could cause grave physical or psychological harm to another person.
That designation, added to the Criminal Code in 2014, applies to people who have been declared not criminally responsible due to psychological reasons.
It would have lengthened the period between Schoenborn’s review board appearances and eliminated the possibility of him winning escorted day passes.
Schoenborn was granted escorted day passes at an earlier review board hearing in 2015 but has yet to leave the hospital.
—With files from Simon Little and the Canadian Press