A B.C. man who killed his three children has been granted unescorted leave in the community for up to 28-days. According to a spokesperson for his victims’ family, the B.C. review board has approved Allan Schoenborn’s latest request for unescorted leave – Mar 11, 2022.
A B.C. man who killed his three children 14 years ago and was found not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder has been granted eligibility for overnight, unescorted leave in the community for periods of up to 28 days.
Following a review hearing, the British Columbia Review Board on Friday granted the leave to 54-year-old Allan Schoenborn, at the future discretion of his psychiatric hospital’s director, “for the purpose of assisting his reintegration to society.”
“It’s disappointing but not unexpected. What we’ve seen consistently over the years is the hospitals eager to have Mr. Schoenborn out, not necessarily better,” Dave Teixiera, a spokesperson for Schoenborn’s victims’ family, told Global News.
“It just seems like this is another case of victims being revictimized, where public safety is not the paramount concern.”
In its decision, the board noted that all parties agreed Schoenborn “continues to constitute a significant threat to the safety of the public,” and should remain under the board’s jurisdiction and in custody — not withstanding the periods of leave.
Schoenborn stabbed and smothered his 10-year-old daughter and eight- and five-year-old sons in Merritt in April 2008.
He was found not criminally responsible in 2010 on a diagnosis of a delusional disorder. At trial, court heard he killed the children because he believed he was protecting them from an imagined threat of sexual abuse.
The review board heard that Schoenborn’s disorder, which is being treated by a long-acting medication, has been in remission for many years, as were his alcohol and cannabis use disorders, with evidence he has been sober for 14 years.
He continues to show a pattern of periodic irritability and abrasiveness with staff and other patients, the board said, often in response to taunting by others and his perception he was being singled out by staff and patients because of his notoriety.
While he continues to show belligerent behaviour, he has not shown a tendency to be physically aggressive or violent, Dr. Robert Lacroix, a psychiatrist at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam, testified.
Lacroix told the board that Schoenborn had been allowed multiple escorted and unescorted leaves over the past year without any reported problems.
“Dr. Lacroix reports that Mr. Schoenborn’s risk of reactive violence is much higher in the confined environment of an institutional setting where he is subjected to repeated taunting and insults and where patients are forced to deal with each other 24 hours a day,” according to the board ruling.
Crown lawyers argued that questions around his substance use issues had not been adequately resolved, noting that staying sober in the controlled environment of the facility was different than doing so in the community.
They also argued Schoenborn continued to demonstrate a “tendency to rely on interpersonal violence, notwithstanding the fact that his psychotic illness is in remission and that he is sober,” and that staff and security would not be present to quickly respond and deescalate any such incidents in the community.
Schoenborn himself testified “that he would like to have the opportunity to work and live an everyday normal existence outside of the hospital (and) his greatest fear is being found out in the community,” the ruling said.
“He testified that he would ‘tuck tail and run’ away from any altercation with a member of the public and return to hospital.”
Under the conditions of his leave, he may not use drugs or alcohol unless directed by a doctor; may not possess firearms, explosives or weapons; and is barred from having any direct or indirect contact with the family of his victims.
Lacroix told the board the next step in preparing him for reintegration involves moving him to the facility’s minimum security wing, a transfer expected to take place in the “next few months.”
His treatment team will also help him find work and accommodation, which will be necessary before he can be granted overnight, unescorted leave.
eixeira pointed to the fact Schoenborn’s doctor recommended against the idea of group housing as another concern, but said he expected it wouldn’t be long before leave was requested and granted.
“His own doctor doesn’t think he would be good in a group home because he would fight with the other patients. Yet at the same time he would be OK out in the community?” he said.
“What we’ve seen in the past is whenever he’s had a freedom or a step towards freedom he’s been able to use those freedoms in some way shape or form, so it wouldn’t surprise me in the next three to five months if we see the child killer out in the tri-cities area.”
In 2015, the review board gave the hospital the discretion to grant Schoenborn staff-supported community outings, and in 2020, the hospital director was allowed to approve unescorted leave during the day with various conditions and limits.
– with files from the Canadian Press