COLUMN: Sanity of the justice system is in question

On Sunday, April 6, 2008, Darcie Clarke returned to her Merritt trailerhome after a weekend away, and found the cold bodies of her children.

Max, aged eight, and Cordon, five, were curled up on a couch. They had been suffocated. Kaitlynn, 10, was in her bedroom wrapped in her favourite blanket. She had been stabbed to death.

Their father, Allan Schoenborn, who had been looking after the youngsters, was gone.

Ten days later, after an extensive police hunt, he was found hiding in the bush by a man walking his dogs.

Schoenborn said he had killed his kids, and wanted to know if his wife had committed suicide.

The murders occurred the day after Clarke told her husband their marriage was over.

During the first-degree murder trial that followed, the defence maintained that Schoenborn, suffering a mental disorder, believed the children were being molested – unclear as to by whom – and that he had killed them to save them from further abuse.

Yet, there was no evidence to support such a belief, nor that Schoenborn had ever told authorities about it.

He had never been diagnosed with a mental illness.

The Crown’s theory was that the man killed his children, and posed their bodies, to punish his wife in the most excrutiating fashion possible.

The B.C. Supreme Court judge found Schoenborn guilty of murder, but not criminally responsible due to his mental condition.

He was sent to the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam, where his mental status is reviewed each year.

Last week, hardly a year after his trial, Schoenborn appeared before a review panel with his lawyer,  to request “community access.”

It’s time he was allowed out on escorted day trips, he maintained, “to go to the mall for coffee,” and maybe take a swim at the public pool.

If Schoenborn really is out of his mind, he’s not alone.

The review board actually granted Schoenborn’s request, at the discretion of the clinical director of the hospital.

Now that’s nuts.

And then, as the public howls of outrage reached a crescendo, we learned that Darcie Clark is now living in Coquitlam.

Who knew? Not the review panel, apparently.

The revelation prompted Attorney General Barry Penner to announce that officials will reconsider the decision.

Among all of the recent offensive abuses of the criminal justice system, this one has to rank at the top.

This case is so wrong, in so many ways.

The mental disorder defence should have been discarded like the BS it was.

Schoenborn should be sitting in a maximum security cell until he dies. In fact, evil creatures like him are fine justification for a fatal injection.

Instead, he lounges in a hospital, which has a review board that actually will consider such a monster’s request to lark about the community – in which his ex-wife lives!

The experts weren’t aware of the latter, they said. And that’s so wrong, too.

Wouldn’t her whereabouts be a critical factor in any such decision?

Penner needs to do more than order these officials to reconsider their appalling decision. They should all be sacked.

The entire “review” process needs to be gutted of its touchy-feely PC tripe, and brought to focus on what really matters – like public safety, victims’ rights, and some justice for three dead little kids.

For twisted freaks like Schoenborn, there should be no review at all.

His sanity is a moot point. The justice system, on the other hand…

Andrew Holota is the editor of The Abbotsford News.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Black Press - file photo)
WEATHER: Enjoy the sun today, prepare for a week of rain

Clouds and rain to arrive by evening, Environment Canada forecasts

Chilliwack’s Ryan Wugalter with his kids, three-year-old Mira and 15-month-old Solomon. Wugalter recently released his children’s album Super Giraffe. (Submitted)
Chilliwack father releases children’s album, songs about superhero giraffe and not eating magnets

Inspiration for Ryan Wugalter’s new album ‘Super Giraffe’ came from his two young kids

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Several Abbotsford citizens and athletes have participated in the SOBC’s Polar Plunge fundraiser campaign. (Facebook photo)
Abbotsford residents taking the Polar Plunge for SOBC

Local Michelle Hill jumping into Albert Dyck Park on Saturday, several others also taking part

Passengers aboard Komagata Maru in Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet, 1914 - Library and Archives Canada image
Abbotsford council is asked to rename street in memory of Komagata Maru victims

Most of 376 the passengers aboard ship were denied entry into Canada in 1914

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

Most Read