Family of Darcie Clark to testify at hearings examining criminal code changes

VANCOUVER - Representatives of grieving British Columbia mom Darcie Clark are travelling to Ottawa to add their support to proposed legislation that will change the way mentally ill offenders are handled.

Dave Teixeira (te-SHARE'-ah) says he will testify Monday before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights as it examines Bill C-54, a Criminal Code revision imposing stringent conditions on anyone found not criminally responsible for a crime.

Teixeira says the bill, which has already passed second reading, offers more protection to victims and their families because it creates a new designation of high risk offender, eligible for release hearings every three years, rather than annually.

Clark's three young children were killed by their father in Merritt, B.C., in 2008, but Allan Schoenborn was found not criminally responsible for the slayings.

Since then he has been held at the Forensic Psychiatric Institute in suburban Vancouver, eligible for yearly release reviews and, in 2011, the B.C. Review Board allowed him escorted visits into the community, but permission was withdrawn after strong opposition from Clark's family, who say Clark now lives in the same suburb.

An application was approved four months ago to move Schoenborn to a psychiatric facility closer to his mother in Selkirk, Man., but the transfer has not yet been carried out, in part because Clark's family is fighting the move, saying she has relatives in the same area. (CHNL)

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