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BC Review Board ignored ‘desperate warning’: Victims’ rights advocate

A victims’ rights advocate says the B.C. Review Board ignored medical professionals’ advice when deciding to grant stabbing suspect Blair Evan Donnelly day release from a forensic psychiatric hospital.

In response to new details obtained by CityNews about the review board’s decision, advocate Dave Teixiera says it’s “astonishing” Donnelly was allowed a day pass, given he was deemed a “significant threat.”

Teixiera says the document detailing the review board’s decision contains sound advice that was ignored by the decision makers.

“It reads like a desperate warning from the medical professionals who worked with Donnelly,” he said.

In 2006, Donnelly fatally stabbed his daughter. He was found not criminally responsible. In 2009, the review board notes he stabbed another individual while on a day pass. In this case, he was found criminally responsible.

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Teixiera, who acted as a spokesperson for the Clarke family in connection with the case of Allan Schoenborn, who killed his three children in Merritt in 2008, says the reports for Donnelly and Schoenborn are very similar.

He thinks in both cases, it appears as if the review board released these people from hospital as a way to demonstrate the success of the programs Donnelly and Schoenborn were a part of.

“There were significant warnings in that document from April and for some reason the BC Review Board and director ignored it,” Teixiera said.

Often, people aren’t aware when hearings for decisions to release people are taking place, Teixiera says. By not advertising them, he claims it’s easier for the review board to avoid accountability or scrutiny for its decisions.

“They’re shocked when people show up and question them,” he said.

Over the past 15 years, Teixiera says he’s met with three premiers and seven attorney generals and believes all of them have the best interests of everyone involved in mind.

“All of them promised to do something and very little has been done.”

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He says he would like to see some action this time.

“I would hope that David Eby will take his white-hot anger and turn it into red-hot action,” Teixiera said. “We should be strong enough to look at our systems and say, ‘You know what, it’s not working.'”

On Sept. 10, three people were stabbed at the Light Up Chinatown festival in Vancouver. Donnelly was arrested a short time later and charged with three counts of aggravated assault.

On Thursday, Premier David Eby announced former Abbotsford Police Chief Bob Rich has been appointed to investigate the circumstances of the stabbing in Chinatown.

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