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

Forestry workers set to begin job action in Kootenays

Operations in Castlegar, Cranbrook, Galloway, Elko, Radium, Golden may see job action this week.

Your Mountain Minute for November 15

Golden’s weekly 60-second news recap… Continue reading

UPDATE: Highway 1 in Golden reopened

UPDATE: The Trans-Canada Highway east of Golden has been reopened. Crews were… Continue reading

Golden council considers cannabis zoning

The Town of Golden is going through the motions and deciding how… Continue reading

Golden’s landfill may not be to blame for water contamination

A resident who lives beside the Golden Landfill has asked the Columbia… Continue reading

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

B.C. VIEWS: Setting speed limits in a post-fact political environment

Media prefer ‘speed kills’ narrative, even when it fails to appear

Controversy erupts over Japanese flag in B.C. classroom

Online petition demanding removal has collected more than 5,700 signatures

Death toll rises to 76 in California fire with winds ahead

Nearly 1,300 people remain unaccounted for more than a week after the fire began

Trump says report on Khashoggi death expected in a few days

Jamal Khashoggi was a columnist for The Washington Post who was slain Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul

Most Read