A judge has rejected an application to have Allan Schoenborn designated a high-risk accused after he was found not criminally responsible for killing his three children nine years ago.
Justice Martha Devlin of the B.C. Supreme Court said Thursday that Schoenborn does not pose a high enough risk that he could cause grave physical or psychological harm to another person.
Devlin said based on Schoenborn’s progress, current mental condition and the opinions of experts, there is no reason to believe he poses a serious enough threat to warrant the designation.
Schoenborn was convicted of first-degree murder in 2010 for killing his daughter and two sons, but found not criminally responsible because of a mental disorder.
His case gained notoriety again when former prime minister Stephen Harper singled him out when he introduced a law creating the high-risk designation for mentally ill offenders. The designation of high-risk accused has yet to be successfully applied since Harper’s government introduced the legislation in 2013.
The designation would have barred him from receiving escorted outings into the community and extend the time between his review board hearings from one to three years.
Schoenborn killed his 10-year-old daughter Kaitlynne and sons, Max and Cordon, aged eight and five, in the family’s home in Merritt in April 2008.
The murder trial heard that Schoenborn was experiencing psychosis at the time of the killings and thought he was saving his children from sexual and physical abuse, though no evidence suggested this was the case.
Crown attorney Wendy Dawson argued his lengthy history of physically and verbally abusive behaviour warranted the designation of a high risk accused person.
“Offences of such a brutal nature … indicate a risk of grave physical or psychological harm,” Dawson told the court in June.
“There’s a substantial likelihood that Mr. Schoenborn will use violence that could endanger the life and safety of another person in the future.”
But defence lawyer Rishi Gill said his client is being properly managed in a psychiatric facility, his psychosis is under control and he doesn’t fit the definition for a high risk accused person, despite anger-management issues.
“There is nothing in the anger situation that takes him out of the regular stream. It’s the psychosis risk that puts him into the high risk. And that psychosis is under control,” Gill told the judge in his final submissions.
The Canadian Press