R. V. Schoenborn Case Study

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The case of R. v. Schoenborn is a troubling case involving the death of three children and the defence of not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder. This defence must be critically analyzed along with the evidence and expert opinions as it could absolve the accused of the charges. As well, the precedent that the verdict provides is critical to the legal system and its future implication and thus give the decision more importance. After a thorough examination of the facts, it is evident that the verdict of the Supreme Court of British Columbia is correct and reflects the administration’s objectives and beliefs. This will be demonstrated through the application of legal principles and elements. Case summary Mr. Schoenborn, the …show more content…

Schoenborn not criminally responsible for the murder of his children is undisputable and an appropriate decision based on the evidence and the administration’s objectives. The actus reus of the case cannot be disputed, as the accused confessed to the crime and both the defence and the crown agree that Mr. Schoenborn killed his children. However, the mental element of the crime is arguable, as the possibility of Mr. Schoenborn being in a psychotic state during the time of the offence is high. The evidence to support the fact that he did not form the mens rea of the crime can be derived from his history of mental illness as well as the evidence given by Ms. Clarke that he was a good and caring father. This demonstrates that he greatly cared for his children and their safety but was prone to having psychotic episodes that muddled his mind and led him to commit dangerous and unusual acts. There is also an inclination to believe that if he had not suffered from this state, then the offence would not have been committed, specially not in the barbaric way it was done. Thus, it cannot be concluded that the accused willfully preformed the act, nor that the mens rea and the actus reus coincided while he was not in a psychotic state. (Roach, 113) Related to this finding is another element that supports the verdict of the Honorable Judge, which is the Principle of Fundamental Justice that states that no one should be “punished for morally involuntary actions.” (Roach, 82) A person who successfully raises the mental disorder defence is considered to be morally innocent of the act because they were not acting freely, in this case, free from psychotic ideations. (Roach, 83). As previously mentioned, the mental element can’t be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, thus making Mr. Schoenborn a morally innocent person. Any other verdict would have violated this principle on which the legal administration is founded on

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