Crown, defence spar over if B.C. child killer should get escorted outings

Allan Schoenborn was found not criminally responsible for the killing of his three kids in Merritt in 2008

Allan Schoenborn. (RCMP handout)

A B.C. man who killed his three children should lose the right for escorted outings from his psychiatric hospital, a prosecutor told the B.C. Review Board Thursday.

Allan Schoenborn was convicted but found not criminally responsible for killing his three children, ages 10, eight and five, at his Merritt home in 2008.

READ MORE: Allan Schoenborn, who killed his 3 kids, deemed not high-risk

A judge ruled he was experiencing psychosis at the time. Since then, Schoenborn has resided in a medium security unit of the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam’s Colony Farm Regional Park.

Schoenborn was granted the ability to apply for brief escorted outings by the three-person review board in November 2017, a ruling Crown counsel has been fighting ever since. Doctors have yet to approve an application for him to take such an outing.

“I don’t think staff supervised community outings are justified at this point,” Schoenborn’s psychiatrist Dr. Marcel Hediger, told the board at the annual hearing to review his freedom.

When questioned by prosecutor Michelle Booker, Hediger painted Schoenborn as a paranoid, impulsive man still working on controlling his anger and emotions.

‘I will now live in consistent fear’: Allan Schoenborn granted escorted leaves

His attitude has become more positive over the years, Hediger said, but he continues to have “negative interactions” with both patients and employees. They haven’t gotten physical, but staff have had to intervene.

The hospital’s two main concerns are that Schoenborn has trouble when he feels wronged or disrespected, and he tends to interpret “neutral” comments as negative, he said. His poor impulse control could cause issues on escorted outings.

He is “likely” to have a negative interaction with someone in public on such an outing, given his notoriety, Hediger said, adding Schoenborn has already had death threats from patients at the hospital.

“I don’t know how he would be able to handle it… it would be a very triggering situation.”

Schoenborn sat in on the eight-hour proceedings. Wearing a navy t-shirt under a blue-checkered shirt, faded blue jeans, slippers and black-rimmed glasses, the 50-year-old remained largely quiet and subdued.

Near the end of the proceedings, he was questioned by the review board. He told the board he’d made progress over the past nine years.

“I say darn it now instead of eff it,” he said. “I use to take things to heart but now I take it to my head first.”

Schoenborn’s only outburst came at the very end of the day, when Crown counsel Trevor Shaw asked for Darcie Clarke, the mother of the three murdered children, and other close family to be notified if Schoenborn had an outing.

“Really? He doesn’t know why?” Schoenborn said loudly, interrupting Shaw’s reading of his arguments for victim notification.

While cross-examining Hediger, Schoenborn’s counsel Rishi Gill proposed a hypothetical, “very controlled” scenario where Schoenborn could leave the hospital for a “500-metre walk along Barnet Highway,” just a five-minute drive away. Would that work, Gill asked Hediger?

“If there were no other individuals around [and staff present] that could be possible,” Hediger acknowledged.

Gill argued that it was Schoenborn’s psychosis that lead to the “eggregious, horrible offence” of killing his three children and that with the mental disorder under control, he does not present the same risk to the public.

READ MORE: Psychiatrist says Schoenborn’s angry outbursts have dropped in past six months

Schoenberger has, Hediger noted, shown “genuine remorse” for his actions.

Gill pointed out the point of the hospital is to eventually reintegrate patients into society, if it is possible to do so in a safe way.

“Is there some point where the patient’s resiliency must be tested?” Gill asked.

“Yes… in the hospital,” Hediger replied, noting he would like to see Schoenborn join more programs within hospital walls so doctors can better judge his interactions.

There’s not much Schoenborn will ever be able to do to change his notoriety, Hediger said, so he’s going to have to learn to deal with it.

“He’s always going to be held to a higher standard.”

The B.C. Review Board will make its decision sometime in the coming days to either take away the possibility of escorted outings, to mandate escorted outings or to keep things status quo.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Kaien Anti-Poverty Society hoping to raise $20K in 50/50 community bingo nights

KAPS is looking to raise money for a new vehicle to support their growing food program

Snickers and Superheroes at Udderfest

Fantasy and frivolity the Friday festival offerings

Rupert Lawn and Garden awards build contract for new site to Prince Rupert firm

Garden centre also set to announce temporary location while construction takes place

Esthetically pleasing program coming to Prince Rupert

Coast Mountain College is rolling out a new esthetics program in November

All Nations Driving Academy gets $360K boost from province

Terrace-based driving school bridges gap in services for remote northwest B.C. communities

Heart of Our City: Kaps off to Colleen Hermanson

Colleen Hermanson began working in social services as early as 1968

The Northern View announces inaugural Tyee Fishing Derby in Prince Rupert

More than $7,000 up for grabs for biggest legal salmon and halibut

The Northern View 2019 Readers Choice

It’s that time of year again! Vote online or at the Prince Rupert office before noon on Aug. 30

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

Most Read