Friday, December 4, 2009

Expert disputes mental illness defense; dad has admitted to slaying of 3 children (Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada)

We have posted on this trial periodically. The debate goes on as to whether Dad ALLAN SCHOENBORN was psychotic--and thus not guilty for mental health reasons--when he murdered his three children. For some reason, fathers rights people have insisted that murderous moms have monopolized the "mental illness excuse." Obviously, as this case demonstrates, this is patently untrue.

Expert disputes mental illness defence at Schoenborn murder trial

By Melissa Lampman - Kamloops This Week

Published: December 02, 2009 4:00 PM
Updated: December 03, 2009 3:20 PM

The triple-murder trial for the man who has admitted to slaying his children has been postponed for the second time.

In Kamloops Law Courts on Thursday, court heard more scheduling conflicts are behind the adjournment of Allan Schoenborn’s trial, slated to wrap up today.

Testimony from two police officers and two civilian witnesses is expected today, after which the trial will be put off to the week of Jan. 11.

Exact dates will be set today.

In January, defence lawyer Peter Wilson will begin cross-examiniation of forensic psychiatrist Shabehram Lohrasbe — who has been on the stand for two days — and is expected to take two to three days, followed by the Crown calling physiatrist Ronald Chale to the stand.

In Kamloops Law Courts on Wednesday, Schoenborn stood up in the prisoner’s box and asked to be removed from the trial during Lohrasbe’s second day of testimony.

“In respect to the court, I asked to be excused so I can maintain,” said the man who has admitted to murdering his three children — Kaitlynne, 10, Max, 8, and Cordon, 5 — in their Merritt home in April 2008.

Prior to the outburst, Crown’s expert forensic psychiatrist said in the days leading up to the killings, Schoenborn wasn’t behaving psychotically.

“I find it doesn’t match what I typically see with mentally ill people,” he said, noting Schoenborn told paramedics he was schizophrenic immediately after his arrest.

“That’s an odd thing for a man to say after he’s killed his children and evaded police for 10 days.”
Despite not being able to make a firm diagnosis, Lohrasbe said Schoenborn — who returned after a 30-minute recess with a pen and paper to take notes — does demonstrate signs of psychosis, substance abuse and personality disorder.

“There’s no doubt Mr. Schoenborn has been psychotic from time to time,” he said.

“But, his broad-based anger is difficult to attribute to psychosis itself.”

Most psychotic people, he explained, are angry in a narrow way and are often quite and preoccupied with their thoughts.

Lohrasbe was “struck” by Schoenborn’s anger directed at Darcie Clarke — his common-law wife and mother of the three children — the Ministry of Child and Family Development, all police and health care professionals even after his children were dead.

On Tuesday, he said the two interviews with Schoenborn, when the accused talked about how he killed his children, were the “heaviest” and “most painful” interviews he’s done in his 25 years as a psychiatrist.

Despite not believing the 41-year-old father was mentally ill at the time of the murders, Lohrasbe said he’s convinced the man is mentally ill now.

“This is in no way to imply he’s putting on a show,” Lohrasbe said, pointing to the killings, Schoenborn’s isolation and pariah status in jail.

“All of us can become psychotic, given the right conditions of isolation.”

All witnesses are expected to have testified by today in the trial that resumed this past week after a month postponement.