Turning inner space into outer space

April 7, 2011

Escorted leaves may just be the first step

There is almost universal outrage over the B.C. Review Board’s decision to grant Allan Schoenborn, the man who killed his three children, escorted leaves.

Sifting through the comments left on The Daily News website, some patterns emerge: he hasn’t been punished enough, he remains a danger to the public, the justice system has failed the greater good.

I won’t attempt to address these concerns, but I do see a nugget of truth in the raw anger being expressed. Our court reporter, Robert Koopmans, has pointed out that there is a pattern in these matters. A few escorted leaves will likely amount to nothing as far as the public is concerned. The chance of him escaping and hurting someone are pretty much negligible.

But what happens next? If these escorted leaves pass without incident, will the next step by unescorted leaves? Overnight leaves? A half-way house? Freedom with conditions? Full release?

It might not be long — five years maybe — before Schoenborn goes through all these steps and is a completely free man. That’s been the pattern in other cases, Koopmans says, and it may very well turn out to be the pattern here.

Will the public be outraged if or when this happens? Only if we know about it. By then, Schoenborn may be old news and no longer of any concern to the media. He could be free and we wouldn’t even know about it.