Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Child killer Allan Schoenborn's review hearing adjourned after outburst

BC Review Board hearing adjourned for Allan Schoenborn, who has changed his name and is concerned about being recognized in public during his unescorted community leaves from a psychiatric hospital.
Allan Schoenborn in 2008.

A BC Review Board hearing to assess the rehabilitation and unescorted community leaves of Allan Dwayne Schoenborn, the Merritt father who killed his three young children in 2008, has been adjourned.

“What the f*** is this?” Schoenborn burst out at the hearing table Wednesday, following inquiries from hearing panel chair Brenda Edwards to Dr. Sophie Anhoury, the medical director of the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam where Schoenborn resides.

Anhoury had been asked about the hypothetical risk Schoenborn poses to children in public. Anhoury confirmed Schoenborn displayed some behavioural risks.

"No booze, no drugs, no children; is that what’s going to be on my order?" Schoenborn interjected, sitting next to his lawyer Rishi Gill, who, in February 2010, successfully had Schoenborn acquitted of three first-degree murder charges and deemed not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder.

Schoenborn — wearing glasses with brown, thin and receding hair and a stocky build — leaned back in his chair.

“Let’s go, this is bullshit,” he told Gill. “Can we get to reality?” added Schoenborn before standing up and leaving as Edwards called recess.

After Schoenborn left the hearing room, Edwards inquired with Gill as to why he was staring at her, to which Gill replied that he had no problem.

The entire incident ultimately led to Gill to ask for an adjournment following the recess.

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

Gill also accused Edwards of asking “extensive” questions that were “over and above” a typical hearing of this nature.

“This proceeding is not a rubber stamp, we appreciate that, but all parties agree there is no request to change the status quo,” said Gill.

At the hearing table, counsel for the attorney general of B.C. said based on his observations “there was nothing untoward that would call for an adjournment.”

The panel left the hearing and returned to announce that it did not approve an adjournment at which point Gill said he was no longer representing Schoenborn as he closed his laptop and left the table.

“I don’t know how to handle these proceedings by myself,” Schoenborn told Edwards, who then called an adjournment out of “procedural fairness” for Schoenborn.

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

Schoenborn had already been granted unescorted leaves in the community and the hearing was being held to potentially consider a conditional release or more extensive leave, understood to be at Coast Transitional Cottages operated by Coast Mental Health.

His last hearing was held on March 3, 2022 when he was ordered to remain at the hospital under nine conditions. One condition allows Schoenborn overnight stays in the community for a period not exceeding 28 days and at the director’s discretion, for the purpose of “assisting in his reintegration into society.”

Prior to the outburst and legal conflict, Anhoury told the board that Schoenborn’s treatment team remained in support of continued unescorted community leaves as his delusional disorder was in remission and his alcohol abuse disorder was also in remission, albeit in a controlled setting (the hospital).

But Anhoury noted that Schoenborn has displayed “periodic presentation of aggression toward staff and some patients,” including two notable recent incidents wherein he called a female staff member a “[expletive] bitch” and slammed the front door of his home when hospital staff had told him to keep it open, per policy.

Schoenborn, said Anhoury, shows “a tendency towards verbal outbursts” and that “there is a risk that verbal aggression can lead to physical aggression.”

Anhoury said some of Shoenborn’s behaviour and “motivational barriers” could be ascribed to the effects of institutionalization.

Still, psychiatric staff observe Shoenborn viewing people’s actions through a “hostile lens,” said Anhoury.

Schoenborn is said to have developed concern about being recognized in public and as such the board was informed he has changed his name.

On March 11, an application was made to partially restrict publication of Schoenborn’s new legal name. The application sought an order for the new name not to be published in any legal proceeding unless approved by the board.

The board denied the application after opposing submissions from the attorney general of B.C. and Global News and affirmed hearing parties are to use the name Allan Dwayne Schoenborn.

Although he has had community outings Schoenborn reported once to staff that he thought someone recognized him at a grocery store.

“I think he would be frightened if he were recognized …given his notoriety,” said Anhoury, in discussing what may stress him out.

The board heard that Schoenborn has “limited social support” in the community aside from his mother, whom he is in contact with. However, it also heard that hospital staff have at times had difficulty contacting the mother.

Anhoury said Schoenborn is not seeking employment at the moment but has discussed what working may look like, such as being a gas station attendant.

It was March 2022 when the last assessment of Schoenborn was made public via the board’s reasons for disposition that kept Schoenborn in hospital.

Schoenborn’s psychotic illness has been in remission for “many years” and is “fully controlled through an injectable form of long-acting antipsychotic medication,” the board noted.

Schoenborn had “no history of involvement in the institutional contraband trade and appears genuinely motivated to abstain from substance use.”

Anhoury said Schoenborn’s condition has “not changed in a significant way.”

Edwards said the board aims to resume the hearing within one week, noting reports, experts and family of the victims had prepared for this day.

[email protected]