Attorney General Suzanne Anton issued the following statement Friday on the Criminal Justice Branch’s decision to not appeal the B.C. Review Board decision to grant Allan Schoenborn escorted leave:
“I am aware that the Criminal Justice Branch (CJB) will not file an appeal in response to the B.C. Review Board’s decision to allow Allan Schoenborn escorted leave. I know that this decision is very difficult for Ms. Clarke, for her family and for the public to understand and accept. What Ms. Clarke and her family have gone through should never happen to anyone, and they have my deepest sympathy. I have been advised that the CJB has spoken with Ms. Clarke’s family and her representatives about its decision.
“Following a thorough analysis of this case, including the Review Board’s reasons, as well as evidence that was before the board for consideration, the CJB has determined that it cannot meet the legal test to have the Review Board’s decision set aside under the Criminal Code. The decision to not appeal was made independent of government by senior, experienced prosecutors from the CJB.
“I have spoken with Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Peter MacKay about this particular case and we are committed to looking at ways to ensure the safety and security of our citizens and our communities.
“In fact, the federal government recently strengthened the Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act to further enhance victim safety. British Columbia was instrumental in calling for changes which permit the B.C. Review Board to extend the review period for not criminally responsible accused persons up to three years, instead of annually, addressing the needs of the victims and public safety.
“I intend to continue our discussion in light of our experience in this matter, to determine whether there are further legislative options to explore to further ensure that the administration of justice is not brought into disrepute by the terms of a particular decision, and to assess the new public safety considerations.
“The CJB is currently assessing whether it can seek a high-risk designation for Mr. Schoenborn, through the court, as outlined in the Criminal Justice Branch’s media statement.
“The public’s safety is our most important consideration. I would like to emphasize that the Review Board has ordered that Mr. Schoenborn continue to be detained in custody at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital. Any absences that may be granted from the hospital will be escorted absences.
“It is also my understanding that the decision provides the hospital with the authority to allow community access only if the director is satisfied any such access can take place without placing the community at undue risk. It is my expectation that a structured plan, where he will be closely monitored, is put in place by the hospital before any such access would occur.”