The BC Prosecution Service (BCPS) will not file an appeal of the B.C. Supreme Court’s decision not to label child killer Allan Schoenborn a high-risk accused.
“After a thorough review of the court’s reasons, the BCPS has concluded there is no likelihood that it would succeed in an appeal of the court’s decision. Accordingly, [we] will not file an appeal in this matter,” stated a press release from the BCPS.
Schoenborn murdered his three young children in their Merritt home back in 2008 and has lived at the Colony Farm Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in the Lower Mainland since being found not criminally responsible (NCR) for the crimes due to mental disorder. He stabbed his 10-year-old daughter, Kaitlynne and smothered his sons Max, 8, and Cordon, 5.
The decision not to appeal the ruling marks an end to a two-year process to have Schoenborn labeled a high-risk accused. The designation would have prohibited him from being able to apply for escorted day passes and moved his review board hearings up to once every three years instead of annually — measures which family members of the victims have been advocating for.
The BC Review Board granted Schoenborn the ability to request the supervised outings from the facility in the spring of 2015, which prompted the BCPS to file its application that fall to have him labeled a high-risk accused.
However, on Aug. 31 Justice Martha Devlin rejected the crown’s application to have Schoenborn labeled a high-risk accused, saying he doesn’t pose a high enough threat to warrant the designation given his progress, current mental state and the opinions of experts.
The decision to deny the Crown’s application was reviewed by senior counsel at Criminal Appeals and Special Prosecutions who unanimously concluded there was no legal basis to take the matter to the B.C. Court of Appeal.
“While not the result the Crown was seeking, the [high risk accused] ruling is detailed and deals comprehensively with the evidence and all the major issues raised by the parties,” stated the release.
The court found that while Schoenborn represented a sufficient risk for the review board to detain him in custody, the higher level of risk needed to designate him a high-risk accused was not made out.
“Although reasonable persons may disagree on the appropriateness the court’s decision it was a decision open to the court to make,” the BCPS stated in the release. “Crown counsel saw the evidence differently, but this does not mean that the court’s assessment of the evidence was unreasonable within the meaning of the law, or unsupported by expert reports or testimony.”
Without the high-risk accused designation, the BC Review Board will continue to hold annual reviews of Schoenborn’s status, at which the BCPS intends to continue to oppose any escorted day passes.
To date, no such outings have been applied for by Schoenborn. Any requests would be granted at the discretion of the director of the psychiatric hospital.
Darcie Clarke, the mother of the slain children said in a statement that while her family encouraged an appeal, they will now turn their attention to ensuring Schoenborn doesn’t receive additional freedoms at his next review board hearing, which is scheduled for Nov. 10.