Dave Teixeira.

Advocate for B.C. victim’s family blasts ‘secretive’ B.C. Review Board

Comments come following Gabriel Klein’s fitness for trial hearings in high school stabbing case

A B.C. tribunal on severe mental health issues in the criminal justice system is confusing, untransparent and doesn’t consider victims, an advocate said following a high-profile hearing last week.

Dave Teixeira is an advocate for families of victims going through the B.C. Review Board process. He commented on what he says are the board’s deficiencies as Gabriel Klein, accused of second-degree murder and aggravated assault in the 2016 Abbotsford Secondary School stabbing, goes through the B.C. Review Board’s process for fitness for trial hearings.

Teixeira’s gripes with the B.C. Review Board range from the ability for victims’ families to get information on matters like upcoming hearings or decisions to the proceedings themselves.

RELATED: Klein found unfit for trial over Abbotsford school stabbing

“You can’t easily find out when the hearing dates are, you don’t get the results easily. It’s just a strange process. There’s no guide; the B.C. Review Board’s own website doesn’t make it easy,” Teixeira said.

“I guess it starts with Attorney General David Eby [who needs] to instruct those branches to be almost a customer service focus, where you are focusing not just on the patient, but also on the victims’ needs, and also what the societal needs are, and also make it easy for the public to understand what’s going on.

“That way you destigmatize the process, because right now it’s a very secretive process, it’s a very strange process, and I think opening it up to the public in a more transparent way would make things a lot easier for the families as well.”

Teixeira did note that in the latest hearing the board’s chair acknowledged the victim’s family and that it is a difficult process.

“That’s the first time I’ve seen that happen in eight years that they actually acknowledge that there’s a victim in this.”

However, Teixeira said the family takes issue with a publication ban being placed on anything that can identify their daughter.

“It’s just strange that they’re muzzling the family and the newspapers of her name, where the victim’s family for one of the victims, the one who was murdered, has no issue with their daughter’s name being released,” he said.

In fact, he said the family is opposed to the news about Klein’s case being dominated with Klein’s name, with no opportunity for their daughter’s name to get out there and be remembered by the public.

In his eight or so years attending B.C. Review Board hearings, Teixeira said he has seen any number of even smaller issues that indicate little consideration for the families of victims, from lunch breaks that leave families scrambling so they can eat to a deficient sound system in the room.

That latter issue has been one of the most persistent issues, he said, pointing to an incident eight years ago, in which he says a family member of a victim asked the board to speak louder.

“The chair said ‘this is a hearing. You are to listen. We do not have to speak louder,’” Teixeira said.

“That’s the attitude of the tribunal. … They know best. They certainly have a good pedigree. I think they’re disconnected from what’s actually going on, and they certainly don’t understand how the victims feel.”

He also took aim at the ability of media to use recorders in hearings or social media to keep the public updated from inside the room — something that is allowed for accredited media in regular courtrooms.

“You have staff that are around the room with phones, you have staff with phones that go off, you have staff that are sitting beside us with a whole laptop,” Teixeira said. “So they give everyone all the tools, except for the reporters, and that doesn’t make sense.”

Teixeira said it would even be in the best interest of the B.C. Review Board to offer more transparent access for media and the public, as it would separate hearings that go well from those that don’t.

“This is a new piece of the process. If people don’t understand it, or worse, they oftentimes hear about the ones that are not working, such as the Allan Schoenborn case. So there are high-profile cases not working. Right now, as frustrating as it is for the family, the process is working.”

Report an error or send us your tips, photos and video.

Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

@dustinrgodfrey

Send Dustin an email.
Like the Abbotsford News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Two Courtenay Habitat for Humanity families receive keys to new homes

Lake Trail Road project officially has residents

Preparations ongoing for Courtenay’s annual Earl Naswell Community Christmas Dinner

The doors of the Florence Filberg Centre, downtown Courtenay, will open again… Continue reading

Valley woman found guilty on three charges following 2016 collision in Courtenay

The woman involved in a trial for a multi-vehicle collision in which… Continue reading

High winds force several BC Ferries sailing cancellations

Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay, Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay, and Duke Point to Tsawwassen among closures

Swiss juniors train in Comox Valley

The Swiss national junior hockey team is training at the Comox Valley… Continue reading

Man dies after falling from B.C. bridge

Intoxicated man climbed railing, lost his balance and fell into the water below

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

‘I practically begged’: Kootenay woman with breast cancer denied referral to Calgary

Breast cancer patient left to fight disease alone after being denied referral to Calgary

21 detained before Paris protests as police deploy in force

There was a strong police presence outside the central Saint Lazare train station, where police in riot gear checked bags

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

Most Read