High-risk designation suitable for B.C. man who killed his children: Crown

B.C. Supreme Court has heard that a mentally ill man who killed his three children should be labelled a "high-risk accused" even though the law allowing for the designation came into effect after the deaths.

NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. — B.C. Supreme Court has heard that a mentally ill man who killed his three children should be labelled a “high-risk accused” even though the law allowing for the designation came into effect after the deaths.

Allan Schoenborn was found not criminally responsible for stabbing his 10-year-old daughter and smothering his eight- and five-year-old sons in their Merritt home in 2008.

Crown prosecutor Trevor Shaw says it would normally be unfair to apply such a law retrospectively because people are rational and should be able to base their behaviour on anticipated consequences.

But Shaw says that consideration doesn’t apply to people found not criminally responsible on account of a mental disorder because their actions, by definition, are not rational.

The province’s Criminal Justice Branch announced in September that it had filed a court application to have Schoenborn declared a “high-risk accused,” a designation which became law in July 2014.

The change could mean hearings to review Schoenborn’s detention status are extended to every three years rather than annually and that he could take limited outings from a psychiatric hospital, mostly for medical reasons.

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