An ArmchairMayor.ca editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
ONE OF THE foundations of our Canadian justice system is the belief that even those guilty of the most unthinkable acts are capable of being rehabilitated, of being returned to society.
So, we give them the tools and the trust to become different people than they were when they committed their transgressions. We offer them treatment, training and the opportunity of freedom.
This is a worthy sentiment — we don’t want a legal system based on revenge.
But the case of Allan Schoenborn stretches our instincts of forgiveness to the breaking point. In 2008, Schoenborn murdered his three children in their Merritt home. He was found not criminally responsible due to a delusional disorder and has been in the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam ever since.
In 2015, the B.C. Review Board awarded the hospital the discretion to allow Schoenborn escorted outings into the community.
Two and a half months ago, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled that Schoenborn is not a “high risk to re-offend.” That meant he retains the right to apply for escorted day passes.
He’s never been granted such an outing, but last week the Review Board re-confirmed the status quo.
It’s arguable whether this will motivate Schoenborn in his recovery, or embitter him if he doesn’t get those tastes of freedom.
Though he would be under close supervision, Darcie Clark, the mother of the three children Schoenborn murdered, believes she would be at grave risk. Clark, who lives not far from the psychiatric hospital, points out that privacy legislation prevents the community from even knowing when an outing takes place.
All this is the result of our progressive justice system.
That Schoenborn is mentally ill isn’t in doubt. But neither is the fact he’s frequently been violent while in custody.
Nobody, especially Darcie Clark, should have to live in fear no matter what the precautions.
Keep Allan Schoenborn under treatment, but keep him inside. That’s not revenge, it’s common sense.
Mel Rothenburger’s Armchair Mayor editorials appear twice daily Mondays through Thursdays on CFJC- TV. His Armchair Mayor column is published Saturdays on ArmchairMayor.ca and CFJC Today. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.