Changes to mentally ill law could mean fewer opt for treatment: review board - InfoNews

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Changes to mentally ill law could mean fewer opt for treatment: review board

Allan Dwayne Schoenborn is shown in an undated RCMP handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO BC RCMP
February 14, 2013 - 1:32 PM

VANCOUVER - Allan Schoenborn, the B.C. father found not criminally responsible for killing his three children, has been the poster boy for federal reforms for those found not criminally responsible for crimes due to mental disorder.

The changes aim to keep high-risk mentally ill offenders in detention longer, but questions are emerging about the effects of the amendments.

B.C. Review Board chairman Bernd Walter is concerned government changes could actually have the opposite effect, by discouraging plea bargains that see mentally ill offenders receive treatment instead of jail time.

Walter says many of the cases that come under the review board's jurisdiction are resolved by an agreement of the defence and the Crown that the offender suffers from mental illness.

He believes defence lawyers may now be reluctant to pursue a not-criminally-responsible plea.

Schoenborn — who killed his 10-year-old daughter, and two sons aged five and eight — is scheduled to appear at his annual review board hearing in B.C. tomorrow.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2013
The Canadian Press

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