Third killer granted escorted trips from psychiatric hospital
By: Kim Bolan, Vancouver Sun
For the third time in a year, an admitted killer found not criminally responsible for murder has been granted the chance to take escorted trips into the community by the B.C. Review Board.
The latest case involves a Lower Mainland man who was found not guilty on February 11, 2011, despite shooting his wife several times as she lay in bed and then setting their home ablaze.
Less than two months later, on April 6, the review board, an independent tribunal under the Criminal Code of Canada, ruled the man “may have escorted access to the community, having regard to his mental condition and the risk he poses to himself or others.”
The man, who won a publication ban on his and his dead wife’s names, can only be identified as JRV and his wife as MV, according to the B.C. Supreme Court. Justice Brian Joyce accepted that JRV “was experiencing dissociative phenomena and was under the delusional belief that his wife had been possessed by the devil or Antichrist.
“I am satisfied that while JRV appreciated that shooting what lay on the bed would kill it, his mental illness obstructed his thought processes such that he was unable to engage in moral reasoning,” Joyce said in his February ruling.
Two kids were in the house at the time, including JVR’s son, who saw him get the rifle, go to the bedroom and shoot MV.
Both Crown and defence agreed in court that JRV was suffering from a mental disorder when he killed MV. But the Crown disputed that he was “incapable of knowing … that what he did was wrong.”
B.C. Attorney-General Barry Penner said Friday that if the federal government accepts his proposals, two psychiatrists would have to agree before a violent mentally ill offender was given access to the community.
Right now one psychiatrist makes that decision, Penner noted in an interview.
“I think it places a tremendous amount of pressure on one psychiatrist,” Penner said. “That is a lot to put on one person’s shoulders.”
Penner wrote to federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson this week because of public outcry over a controversial B.C. Review Board ruling to give Allan Schoenborn, who killed his three children in 2008, the chance to apply for escorted passes from the same Port Coquitlam Forensic Psychiatric Hospital where JRV is being held.
The JRV ruling was made on the same day as the Schoenborn decision. Yet only the Schoenborn case is under review.
Penner is also asking that Ottawa inform victims of violent psychiatric patients about the patient’s release status.
Other mentally ill killers have also been allowed out into the community over the last year.
Last Sept. 29, Kimberly Ruth Noyes, 44, was granted the same opportunity to have escorted trips from the hospital, just two months after being found not criminally responsible for stabbing her 12-year-old neighbour in the throat with a kitchen knife in her Grand Forks home in August 2009.
She told psychiatrists she killed young John Fulton, who had autism, to “sacrifice” him for the second coming of Christ. Her review-board conditions are identical to those imposed on JRV — that she not possess weapons, keep the peace and that “she attend at any time and place for purposes of assessment, counselling, assisting her with regard to any treatment, promoting her reintegration into society, or monitoring her compliance with this order.”
In another controversial case, mental patient Alexander Lawrence Laglace, who had a long history of criminal violence, was charged last year with killing his girlfriend Tammy-Lynn Cordone just months after being released from the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital by the B.C. Review Board.
Cordone was found beaten to death in Lighthouse Park in May 2009.
Laglace, who spent a decade at the hospital, had been let out in December 2008, despite a ruling that warned he would be in trouble with the law again and that “authorities should be vigilant in their highly predictable future contacts with Mr. Laglace.”
Laglace had been convicted of arson and caught at various times with a knife, a machete and a bat, but the review board said: “We nonetheless conclude that Mr. Laglace currently does not pose a significant threat of grave harm such as warrants our ongoing jurisdiction over him.”
New Democrat critic Mike Farnworth said the more cases that come to light, the more insecure the public feels about how these killers are being handled.
“What are the rules? What are the guidelines? How do they make the decisions?” Farnworth asked.
“There needs to be a thorough review of the relevant sections of the legislation to deal with these kinds of things.”
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Reprinted with permission from Postmedia News