Dr. Gwen Laws is a retired psychiatrist with over 40 years experience working with the severely mentally ill. She will lead the discussion at the next Philosopher’s Café on Wed., April 10 at Berwick by the Sea. Photo submitted

Philosopher’s Café discusses how the courts deal with killers

People who commit horrific crimes, are detained for treatment, and could be returned to society

In 2011, Richard Kachkar stole a snow plow and for two hours drove around yelling about the Taliban, Chinese technology and microchips.

He struck and killed a police officer. He was found not criminally responsible for his actions and is in a secure facility within Durham prison.

In 2008, Allan Schoenborn killed his three children in Merrit. He said he killed them to protect them. He was found not criminally responsible, was detained, but has been granted escorted day passes.

Also in 2008, Vincent Li beheaded a fellow passenger on a bus in Manitoba because, he said, God told him to kill the alien. He was found not criminally responsible and detained, but has gradually been returned to society.

These are high-profile examples of mentally ill people who have committed horrific crimes, are detained for treatment, and potentially could be returned to society.

RELATED: B.C. sees biggest spike in homicides across Canada, at 34%

Does that worry you? Are you okay with such and individually living in your community? Discuss this topic at the next Philospher’s Café at Berwick by the Sea Wed., April 10 from 7-8 p.m.

Dr. Gwen Laws is a retired psychiatrist with over 40 years experience working with the severely mentally ill – initially in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, then with the Forensic Psychiatric Services of BC, and during her last 20 years as a member of the British Columbia Review Board – the agency charged with the legal monitoring and disposition of those persons found Not Criminally Responsible on account of Mental Disorder (NCRMD) and/or Unfit to Stand Trial. Please join us as Dr. Laws guides us through the process and helps us answer the question of how to deal with mentally ill individuals who commit serious offences.

Once a month a speaker will introduce a theme to the Café, and then all who attend can join in respectful, non-partisan conversation, or just sit back and listen. You are welcome to propose topics and introduce them at future Cafés. Themes should be of broad interest and national significance, and have an element of controversy to them.

As with each Café, Dr. Gwen Laws will have just 10 minutes to introduce the topic, and then the floor is open for 50 minutes of moderated discussion.

RELATED: Next Campbell River Philosopher’s Café discusses: why would people choose to die?

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