Darcie Clarke, her family and supporters are calling on the provincial government to reverse its decision not to appeal the granting of escorted day passes to Allan Schoenborn.
But the provincial justice minister said there were no legal grounds to appeal.
Clarke found out this morning the province would not appeal the BC Review Board decision to grant Schoenborn — who killed the couple's three children — the day passes, granted earlier this month, but the province has until Tuesday to file an appeal.
During a telephone conference with the media Friday, Justice Minister Suzanne Anton said senior prosecutors with the Criminal Justice Branch could not find any legal test to support an appeal.
"I have canvassed them at length, they have concluded there is no reasonable basis for an appeal," Anton said.
"None of us is terribly happy about this," she said.
But Anton said prosecutors will be looking at whether it's possible to seek a high-risk designation for Schoenborn under Bill C14 passed last year for offenders found to be not criminally responsible. Anton said she would also be speaking with federal Justice Minister Peter McKay to see if the legislation would apply, something Clarle asked for in a prepared statement read at a press conference this afternoon in Port Coquitlam.
The legislation passed last year was intended to keep offenders deemed not criminally responsible in custody until a court removes the designation. Anton said the province was supportive of the Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act when it was first introduced and even contributed to it.
In the meantime, Anton said she has "deepest sympathies" for Clarke and her family, and will ensure community safety is maintained while Schoenborn is out on escorted leave from the Forensic Psychiatric Institute in Coquitlam.
In a press conference held at the Outlet at PoCo's Leigh Square, supporter Dave Teixeira read a statement from Clarke, saying, in part:
"Two weeks ago Allan Schoenborn, the man who murdered my three children — Kaitlynne, Max and Cordon — was granted escorted visits into the Tri-Cities. This was an outcome my family and I had been dreading. Today, that dread has turned to anguish.
"Today, Justice Minister Suzanne Anton refused to help correct an unjust decision and turned down our appeal of the BC Review Board’s ruling granting freedoms to a triple child killer.
"Over the last four years, my family and I have worked hard to correct the imbalance in the Not Criminal Responsible (NCR) system. We thought the B.C. government was our partner in this fight. Today’s decision shows they are willing to pay victims lip service but not back it up with their administrative nor legal power.
"The B.C. Review Board failed to use the tools afforded to them by the Federal Government under Bill C14. These tools give more treatment considerations to the NCR accused, more time for victims to heal and greater transparency and protections for all Canadians. Now, the B.C. government supports a system that keeps victims out-of-mind.
"As for Allan, he could be in our community at any time without the public’s knowledge because the Review Board does not have the public’s safety as their paramount concern.
"I live in the Tri-Cities and I will now live in consistent fear that he will move ahead with his threats against me, because as he has said, I am 'unfinished business.' Should he escape custody, there are no requirements for Colony Farm to warn the community nor get law enforcement involved in his capture.
"[The province has] until Tuesday, June 16th to make the appeal. Please, Premier Clark and Minister Anton, do the right thing — do the just thing — and file this appeal.
"In addition, my family, supporters and I will continue working with Crown counsel and the federal government to present an application to the Supreme Court of Canada to have Allan Schoenborn deemed a high-risk offender… Our hope is that the Supreme Court will look at the facts and find Allan a high risk. Once this happens, his escorted leaves will be revoked and he could be held in custody for treatment for up to 36 months.
"This means my family and I do not have to go through another annual review for some time. This will give me time to rest, feel safe and hopefully one day heal."