BRITISH COLUMBIA

Allan Schoenborn Is Too Dangerous For Escorted Outings, Crown Argues

06/12/2017 03:10 EDT | Updated 06/12/2017 10:30 EDT
NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. — The crimes of a man who stabbed his daughter to death and smothered his two sons are so brutal he should be barred from escorted outings into the community, a Crown attorney says.

Wendy Dawson asked a British Columbia Supreme Court judge on Monday to label Allan Schoenborn a high-risk accused, pointing to his lengthy history of physically and verbally abusive behaviour. Schoenborn was found not criminally responsible because of a mental disorder for killing his three children, aged five to 10, at the family's home in Merrit in April 2008.

allan schoenborn

Allan Schoenborn killed his three children in 2008. A court found him not criminally responsible. (Photo: B.C. RCMP)

"Offences of such a butal nature ... indicate a risk of grave physical or psychological harm,'' Dawson told the court in New Westminster, B.C.

"There's a substantial likelihood that Mr. Schoenborn will use violence that could endanger the life and safety of another person in the future.''

Schoenborn's lawyer, Rishi Gill, said he would not dispute the "brutal nature'' of his client's offences.

The criminal trial found Schoenborn was experiencing psychosis at the time of the killings and believed he was saving his children from sexual and physical abuse, though no evidence suggested this was the case.

"He has instilled terror and fear and caused significant psychological harm in many persons, including his own family members,'' Dawson said.

"The murders are really a culmination of a lifetime of violence.''

Grade 5 incident brought up in court

Dawson referenced the testimony of several witnesses who spoke at a previous high-risk accused hearing to highlight what she described as the man's aggressive tendencies.

Barry Cooper, a psychologist who treated Schoenborn for anger management between 2013 and 2015, told the court it was clear the man has had a bad temper for most of his life, Dawson said.

"Dr. Cooper dates (Schoenborn's) problems with aggression back to Grade 5 when he broke a school window and had a bad attitude,'' Dawson said.

She described how Kelvyn Miller, formerly a close friend of the accused, told the court Schoenborn would generally not pick a fight when sober.

“He's not this individual who is of very limited intellect or ability.”
— Crown lawyer Wendy Dawson

"However, (Miller) said that when Schoenborn had been drinking he probably was going to get upset over something, so they all tried not to say anything that would result in a confrontation,'' Dawson said.

Dawson said Schoenborn is capable of lying and that he tailors his behaviour to make a positive impression on the review board, the board's members decide if he should be granted outings.

"He's not this individual who is of very limited intellect or ability,'' she said. "He is prone to lie if it will benefit him or if it will assist him in getting out of some legal difficulty.''

harper schoenborn

Darcie Clark's cousin Stacy Galt, left, sits with Stephen Harper during a photo opportunity in Burnaby, B.C., on Feb. 8, 2013. (Photo: Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

If Schoenborn is designated a high-risk accused it would severely limit the possibility of outings for him and extend the time between his review-board hearings to three years.

The previous Conservative government brought in the legislation around the high-risk designation. Former prime minister Stephen Harper used Schoenborn as an example when he introduced the law.

Proceedings are expected to last until the end of the week, and June 26 is the anticipated start date for arguments around whether the designation of high-risk accused complies with the charter.