Exacerbating the locals’ outrage, British Columbia’s Premier, David Eby, unveiled his vehement consternation over the unfortunate day release of a man residing in a forensic psychiatric hospital who was subsequently apprehended for executing a triple stabbing episode in Vancouver’s vibrant Chinatown.
Marcating an avowal for justice, Premier Eby affirmed that an independent entity would meticulously scrutinize the nuances of the case, shedding light particularly on the decisions that led to the man’s release. Ensuring efficient expediency, work on the investigation commenced promptly.
Expressing his infuriation, Premier Eby articulated, “My ire is white-hot at the knowledge that this man was released, unescorted into society, negating the extensive efforts of the community members and leaving a devastating impact.”
Blair Evan Donnelly, a 64-year-old man, now finds himself facing the charge of three counts of aggravated assault in the aftermath of an assault at the renowned Light Up Chinatown! Festival last Sunday. The unfortunate incident dubbed three individuals with severe injuries. He continues to be held in custody.
There’s a sliver of grotesque history attached to Donnelly. In 2006, on the grounds of mental instability, he was deemed not criminally responsible for the parricide of his teenage daughter and consequently was committed to the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam, B.C. Not long after in 2009, he reoffended with another stabbing incident whilst on a day pass, Premier Eby remarked.
The hospital in Coquitlam is home to a secure 190-bed facility that nurtures and treats individuals deemed unfit to stand trial courtesy of their mental disorders or those absolved of criminal responsibility due to the same.
The B.C. Review Board, subsequent to a verdict of an offender being mentally unfit for trial, assumes the responsibility of the individual’s care, encompassing their place of stay and the conditions under which they might be permitted into society.
Every offender’s case undergoes periodic reviews until dischargement, if possible, or until the accused is deemed fit for court appearance and hence should be returned.
According to data from the board, over the last four years, the total number of individuals under its jurisdiction has experienced a decline, with 256 in 2021-2022. The Forensic Psychiatric Hospital custody holds a slightly higher number of accused compared to those under supervision in the community.
In a turn in events in 2008, a judge from B.C. Supreme Court declared that Donnelly, a deeply devout man, assumed a divine command to exterminate his wife and daughter. He regarded several harmless occurrences as omens leading to his daughter’s tragic end.
After his committal to the Coquitlam facility, Donnelly was released in 2009, committed another assault and was subsequently released, preceding the recent Chinatown incident.
In disbelieving exasperation, Premier Eby questioned, “How could he procure a knife, venture into Chinatown unaccompanied, and stab three people, post the murder of his own daughter and another attack in 2009? How was this even possible?”
Conveying his commitment to uncovering the truth, Eby pledged to the victims, their kin, and all those distressed by the incident to ascertain how this occurred and to strive to prevent such an occurrence in the future.
Sunday’s attack inflicted serious, yet not fatal injuries to two individuals in their 60s and a woman in her 20s.
In a press statement, the festival’s organisation committee declared the Light Up Chinatown! as a radiant commemoration for the neighborhood. They expressed their heartrending empathy stating, “the senseless act that transpired was nothing short of devastating and heartbreaking.”