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

Tree downs lines on Highview Street in Victoria

Approximately 3,000 without power in the area

‘Irresponsible’ cigarette tossing blamed for two brushfires on Pat Bay highway

Fires could have started from any of the “dozens” of discarded cigarettes, says chief

Electrical appliance failure likely caused apartment fire that killed one Saanich resident

Large parts of the Richmond Road apartment building remain uninhabitable following June 21 fire

VicPD cuts its Crime Reduction Unit in response to budget constrictions

The CRU worked to reduce crime in the downtown core

Man hit by vehicle while sitting on a curb near Our Place in Victoria

Emergency crews cleared the scene shortly before 11 a.m.

VIDEO: Clip of driver speeding past B.C. school bus alarms MLA

Laurie Throness of Chilliwack-Kent says he will lobby for better safety measures

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you think the penalty should be increased for tossing a burning cigarette from a vehicle?

With grasslands and forests around Vancouver Island and across B.C. reaching tinder… Continue reading

B.C. senior’s car vandalized for more than 18 months

Retired RCMP officer determined to catch ‘tagger.’

VIDEO: Driver doing laps in busy Vancouver intersections nets charges

Toyota Camry spotted doing laps in intersection, driving towards pedestrians

Former Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo to retire

‘Bobby Lou’ calls it a career after 19 NHL seasons

Man charged in crash that killed B.C. pregnant woman

Frank Tessman charged for 2018 Highway 1 accident where Kelowna elementary school teacher died

Province unveils 10-year plan to boost mental health, addiction recovery services

The plan, called A Pathway to Hope, focuses on early-intervention services that are seeing high demand

Most Read