VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Crown counsel says it will not appeal the ruling that found Allan Schoenborn is not a high-risk accused.
Schoenborn was found not criminally responsible for the deaths of his three kids in Merritt back in 2008.
On August 31, a BC Supreme Court judge rejected the Crown’s request that Schoenborn be given the “high risk” designation. In her decision, Justice Martha Devlin said he does not pose a high enough risk that he could cause grave physical or psychological harm to another person.
Crown says after a thorough review of the judge’s reasons, it doesn’t believe it would be successful in an appeal. Stacy Galt, cousin to Schoenborn’s ex-wife Darcie Clarke, tells NEWS 1130 she’s disappointed, as she was expecting Crown to make an attempt at an appeal.
“The fact that Schoenborn does not reach the requirements for a high-risk designation is still quite shocking to everyone that sought to change the law pertaining to the criminally not responsible — for them to be deemed high risk. We fought for so long for this to come to fruition and for this court case hearing and to actually lose was quite a blow.”
Schoenborn is allowed to ask for escorted outings into the community, but has not actually been allowed out. A high-risk accused designation would have denied Schoenborn any outings from Colony Farm Forensic Hospital for at least three years.
But Dan McLaughlin with the BC Prosecution Service says this doesn’t mean Schoenborn will be allowed to leave the psychiatric hospital anytime soon.
“Crown counsel will continue to attend at the annual review board hearings; one is currently in progress, with a continuation date [of], I believe, November 10th. The Crown will attend at that and all subsequent hearings and advocate on behalf of the public interest,” he explains.
Galt notes this has been extremely hard on her family, as they live in fear.
“I’ve fought for 10 years to keep him in there. I live in the community and I really don’t want to turn around and see him standing behind me on an outing… I just couldn’t even imagine him being out on these day passes with the heinous crimes that he has committed.”
This has been hardest for Galt’s cousin — the mother of the children who were killed.
“It is just so unbelievably upsetting. It’s hard for her to function. It’s hard for her to really understand what’s really happening. She put her faith in people and she feels like she’s been let down,” says Galt.
She feels the family has the public on their side. “That’s why I don’t understand what’s going on… Why Allan was not deemed high risk in the first place, after the law was changed.”
Galt worries that should Schoenborn ever be allowed out of the hospital on a day pass, he could escape into the community on his own.
“He could actually walk away,” she theorizes. “Colony Farm does not have to report him missing for three days. So, he could be out on a day pass, walk away from escort, and disappear for three days — and nobody would know what he looks like because there’s not a recent picture of him. And how would they be able to find him? How much fear [would] that cause my family?”
The “high risk accused” designation has yet to be successfully applied since the Harper government introduced the legislation in 2013.