Hearing for B.C. man who killed his 3 children adjourned over outburst, legal issues

A hearing to decide whether a B.C. killer could continue to go out in public unescorted ended abruptly and without a decision on Wednesday, after the man shouted at members of the B.C. Review Board and his lawyers quit the case.

Allan Schoenborn yelled an expletive as the board chair asked his treating psychiatrist about what risks he may pose to children in public.

“If a child gets on the train, [do] you want me to get off the train? No booze, no women, no alcohol, no drugs and no children, is that what it’s going to be?” Schoenborn asked.

Schoenborn’s outburst and concurrent legal issues derailed Wednesday’s hearing at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital (FPH) in Coquitlam, B.C., where Schoenborn has been institutionalized since 2010.

In 2008, Schoenborn stabbed and smothered his children Kaitlynne, 10, Max, 8, and Cordon, 5, inside the family trailer in Merritt, B.C.

An earlier trial found he was experiencing psychosis at the time of the killings and believed he was saving his children from sexual and physical abuse. 

Schoenborn was found not criminally responsible and in 2017, a B.C. Supreme Court justice ruled that he doesn’t meet the criteria to be designated as a high-risk offender.

A photo of three children.
Allan Schoenborn killed his three children inside the family trailer in Merritt, B.C., in 2008. (CBC)

At his most recent B.C. Review Board hearing in 2022, Schoenborn was granted unescorted overnight visits outside the hospital up to 28 days long, terms that were renewed in 2023 after he declined to have an annual review hearing.

Wednesday’s hearing was to determine whether Schoenborn must remain in treatment for another 12 months or receive a conditional or full discharge, which neither his defence team nor counsel for the attorney general of B.C. advocated for. 

However, Schoenborn exploded at members of the board shortly before 2 p.m. PT, when FPH medical director Dr. Sophie Ahoury told board chair Brenda Edwards that he does show signs of some potential risks.

“Let’s go, this is bullshit,” Schoenborn told defence lawyer Rishi Gill at the end of the outburst. “Can we get to reality?”

Defence counsel withdraws

Schoenborn left the hearing room as Edwards called a recess.

After proceedings resumed, Gill applied to adjourn the hearing until Schoenborn could get a new lawyer.

Gill accused board members of giving him “dagger eyes” earlier in the day and not treating Schoenborn in a “procedurally fair way,” according to Edwards.

“The actions of the chair have compromised my ability to assist my client,” Gill said.

Counsel for the B.C. attorney general said the exchanges between Gill and board members that day did not appear “untoward.”

The panel of board members left the room to deliberate, and when they returned, said they did not feel an adjournment was “necessary or appropriate.”

At that moment, Gill said he was no longer representing Schoenborn and shut down his laptop.

Schoenborn chimed in to say he would like legal counsel and could not represent himself. 

A man in a suit speaks into a microphone outside the court house.
Allan Schoenborn’s lawyer, Rishi Gill, accused the B.C. Review Board members of not giving his client a fair hearing. (Farrah Merali/CBC)

Edwards then announced the panel would adjourn the hearing out of “procedural fairness” to Schoenborn shortly before 3 p.m. PT.

“It is an extremely unfortunate set of circumstances, but we are where we are,” said Edwards.

The hearing will be rescheduled “as quickly as possible” and hopefully within one week, Edwards said. 

The current order governing Schoenborn’s release conditions will remain in effect until a new one is issued.

No change in diagnoses, psychiatrist says

Before Wednesday’s hearing was adjourned, board members heard that Schoenborn’s treatment team at FPH supported him continuing to have unescorted visits into the community.

His previous diagnoses of delusional disorder, paranoid personality traits and alcohol and cannabis use disorders are in remission thanks to medication and the controlled hospital environment, Ahoury said.

She said Schoenborn has “a tendency towards verbal outbursts” which carry the risk of turning into physical aggression, but said his attitude has improved overall in the last year.

At his 2022 hearing, Ahoury said Schoenborn still carried some risk of potential violence if he does not take his monthly anti-psychotic medication or falls back into drug or alcohol use.

However, she said at the time he never complained about taking his medication and there was no concern that Schoenborn attempted to access alcohol or drugs while unaccompanied.

The Early Edition6:47Clarke family spokesperson questions Schoenborn publication ban application

The B.C. Review Board is scheduled to hear child-killer Allan Schoenborn’s annual release application this morning — but this year, a publication ban is also being considered. We hear from a spokesperson for the family of the three slain children.

Change of legal name

According to the review board, Schoenborn recently changed his legal name due to concern about being recognized in public.

Ahead of the hearing, he applied to the board to place a ban on publishing his new name anywhere.

The board declined and said it will include both Schoenborn’s former name and new name in public documents unless Schoenborn’s team takes legal action before April 30.

Schoenborn’s new legal name is currently unknown.

A court artist's sketch of a man in glasses with short, thinning-on-top thick brown hair, stubbled face, wearing a checked shirt.
Allan Schoenborn is shown in this artist’s sketch attending a British Columbia Review Board hearing in Coquitlam, B.C., in 2020. (Felicity Don/The Canadian Press)

The application for a publication ban on Schoenborn’s new name is unacceptable, according to Dave Texeira, an advocate for the family of the slain children.

Texeira said the annual hearings are “stressful” times for the family, including Mike Clarke, uncle to the three children, and brother to their mother Darcy Clarke, who died in 2019.

“I’m concerned that this publication ban is a precursor to greater freedoms in the community that, quite frankly, the triple-child-killer hasn’t earned,” he told CBC’s The Early Edition on Wednesday morning before the hearing began.

A picture of the forensic psychiatric hospital behind tree cover. It is behind a tall steel fence and has a red brick exterior.
The Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam, B.C., is seen in a file photo. Allan Schoenborn has been held at the facility since 2010, after he was found not criminally responsible for killing his 3 children. (CBC)


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