The brutal nature of the crimes committed by a man who stabbed his daughter to death and smothered his two sons means he poses too much of a threat to be allowed escorted outings into the community, a Crown lawyer says.
Wendy Dawson asked a British Columbia Supreme Court judge on Monday to designate Allan Schoenborn, 49, a high-risk accused. 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.
“Offences of such a brutal 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.
An earlier 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.
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 legislation of the high-risk designation was brought in under the previous Conservative government. Former prime minister Stephen Harper used Schoenborn’s case as an example when he introduced the law.
Dawson referenced earlier court proceedings to argue that 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.”
Dawson told the judge there is no requirement that possible future violence be as heinous as the original crime in order for an accused to be designated high risk.
“It’s sufficient if there’s a substantial likelihood the person will use violence by endangering the life and safety of another person,” she said.
Proceedings are expected to last a week, and arguments around whether the designation of high-risk accused complies with the charter are expected to begin June 26.