B.C. attorney-general requests end to annual NCR reviews

B.C.’s attorney-general Barry Penner is calling for the federal government to abolish one-year reviews for killers who are found not criminally responsible by reason of a mental disorder (NCR). Barry Penner met Thursday with federal counterpart Justice Minister Rob Nicholson to discuss the proposal which seeks to eliminate annual reviews for killers found NCR.

The attorney-general says the request stems from a meeting earlier this year with Darcie Clarke, who says she is haunted by the fact that her ex-husband will come up for a review every year, making her re-live the nightmare of her children’s murders.

In 2008, while visiting the home of his estranged wife, Alan Schoenborn stabbed to death his daughter Kaitlynne, 10, and smothered his sons Max, 8, and Cordon, 5. He was found not criminally responsible and it caused an public outcry when months after the ruling, the BC criminal review board ruled that Schoenborn should have increased freedoms into the community.

“I suggested it should be every three years or five years, or earlier if the treating psychiatrist says there is a marked improvement,” Penner said. He urged the justice minister to consider abolishing annual reviews for “those who committed heinous acts, such as taking another person’s life or committing a serious assault.”

Penner would like to see other changes to Criminal Code Section 672, which governs those found not criminally responsible for their crimes because they were mentally ill at the time. He wants to make sure more than one psychiatrist is on the review board panel when making a decision on when to release a patient into the community, even on escorted passes.

There should be at least two psychiatrists “and maybe make it a panel of three so you don’t have a tie vote,” Penner said.

The justice minister seemed receptive to the proposed changes, Penner said.

BC Attorney General needs to consider more than just the Allan Schoenborn decision.

British Columbia Attorney General Barry Penner is now saying that officials will reconsider the decision to allow child killer Allan Schoenborn escorted access to the community after Port Coquitlam member of the legislature Mike Farnworth spoke out that it was “outrageous” that the review board did not consider that Schoenborn’s ex-wife, Darcie Clarke, was living in Coquitlam, B.C., when the board decided to grant escorted access to the community surrounding the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in nearby Port Coquitlam.

Schoenborn was found Not Criminally Responsible (NCR) of murdering his three children three years ago. The BC “justice” system has been criticized for the NCR ruling as Allan Schoenborn actions after the murder clearly indicate a person who was well aware of his actions to everyone but those responsible for seeing justice done. Allan Schoenborn was found NCR a year ago.

Several recent media reports have stated that Ms. Clarke lives in Coquitlam, close to the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital, where Mr. Schoenborn has been held since his trial last year.

But Dr. Johann Brink, who is clinical director of the psychiatric hospital and would had a role in approving any outings, appeared to learn of Ms. Clarke’s place of residence during an interview, when CKNW’s Bill Good asked Dr. Brink about the public-safety implications of releasing a mentally ill individual into the community where his wife is “living in fear.”

Dr. Brink responded he “certainly was not aware of his ex-wife’s whereabouts,” adding that the information could change his recommendations on supervised releases for Mr. Schoenborn.

A spokeswoman for B.C. Mental Health and Addiction Services, the agency that oversees the hospital where Mr. Schoenborn now resides, said the agency “made great efforts to learn the whereabouts of family members who would have an interest in Mr. Schoenborn going out on community visits.”

“This is standard protocol,” Laurie Dawkins said on Wednesday. “Unfortunately, some of the individuals connected with this case made great effort to remain anonymous – which is understandable – but it prevented us from knowing about their current residence.”

Review board chairman Bernd Walter said the board did not know about Ms. Clarke’s location, Mr. Penner said. A victim impact statement filed by Ms. Clarke included no information on where she was living, nor was such formation required.

It has only been a year since the trial… British Columbia Attorney General Barry Penner might want to consider reviewing more than just the decision.