Canada briefs – April 6

The mental health of a British Columbia man found not criminally responsible for murdering his three children has improved enough that he should be allowed escorted visits into the community, his lawyer and the Crown agree.

Dad who killed three kids seeks supervised leave from hospital

PORT COQUITLAM, B.C. — The mental health of a British Columbia man found not criminally responsible for murdering his three children has improved enough that he should be allowed escorted visits into the community, his lawyer and the Crown agree.

But Allan Schoenborn acknowledged Tuesday he is not yet ready for full release from the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Port Coquitlam, east of Vancouver, where he has been receiving treatment for the past year.

“It’s a long road from here to there, to have no more custody,” Schoenborn told a B.C. Review Board hearing when asked why he wanted the limited freedom, compared to the complete discharge he asked for last year. The review board reserved its decision.

Schoenborn was found not criminally responsible last February for killing his three children — ages five, eight and 10 — exactly three years ago.

On Tuesday, he explained that he wanted the escorted visits, in part, to go to the mall and have a coffee.

“Baby steps. I can’t jump too far — as I learned last year — too fast.”

Schoenborn said he plans to keep taking his medication and perhaps look for some construction work.

When asked if he remembered killing his children, he said: “I feel awful about it. Terrible day.”


Search set to resume for missing boy

LAVAL, Que. — A search is scheduled to resume Wednesday for a three-year-old autistic boy who went missing near Montreal on Sunday afternoon.

Police with dogs scoured a wooded area on Tuesday and checked out buildings, garages and sheds around the house where Adam Benhamma was last seen.

Divers also continued to search the waters and broke up the ice along the shoreline of the Mille-Iles River.

Laval police spokeswoman Nathalie Lorrain said hopes of finding the child alive were diminishing and that it was becoming more plausible he fell into the river.

Benhamma, who is deaf and non-verbal, was playing in front of a house near a wooded area in Laval when his seven-year-old sister lost sight of him.

Lorrain says any decision to call off the search will be made only after consulting the child’s parents.


Manitoba spending $5M on clinical trials for MS liberation therapy

WINNIPEG — Clinical trials of so-called liberation therapy for people with multiple sclerosis got a $5-million boost Tuesday from Manitoba which has decided to partner with its neighbour to the west.

Saskatchewan announced late last year that it was going it alone after other provinces and the federal government showed reluctance to do trials without more preliminary research. It pledged $5 million and issued a call for proposals.

Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger noted that with Manitoba’s money now on the table, the $10 million the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada originally asked Ottawa to pony up for national trials has been achieved.

“It would be excellent if all the governments participated in a multi-site proposal including the federal government,” he said when pressed on the timing of the announcement. Selinger faces a provincial election in the fall.

“In the absence of that, what’s the Plan B that will move the agenda forward? This is a strong Plan B.”

The premier said he still hopes others may join in but noted that MS patients don’t want to wait years for answers. Even if the clinical trials get underway this year, it could be at least 2014 before the results are in.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall welcomed the additional support.