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Accused Chinatown stabber deemed 'significant threat' by BC Review Board


Five months before Blair Evan Donnelly allegedly stabbed three strangers in an unprovoked attack, the BC Review Board had concerns he may pose a threat to public safety.

During an annual meeting to discuss Donnelly’s disposition on April 13, 2023, it concluded that Donnelly continues to “meet the threshold of significant threat" and ordered to be detained for eight months.

He was found not criminally responsible on account of a mental disorder for stabbing his 16-year-old daughter to death in 2006 in Kitimat, B.C. He was sent to the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam.

According to the decision, he is currently diagnosed with bipolar disorder, with psychotic symptoms when manic, and he is in remission from a substance use disorder.

The review board decision outlines the fatal attack. It wrote Donnelly did not show any “apparent signs of mental deterioration” beforehand.

“Earlier that day, Mr. Donnelly had been planning to murder his wife, but he changed his mind to his delusional belief that it was his daughter that God wanted him to kill,” the decision reads.

In 2009, while on a day pass, he “suddenly stabbed” a friend and was convicted to assault with a weapon and served 45 days in jail.

Another incident happened in 2017 when he was allowed a visit leave from the psychiatric hospital but staff noticed he was “preoccupied with religious matters” and had to return back to the institution.

“Shortly after his return to FPH, Mr. Donnelly suddenly attacked another patient in the Hawthorne unit with a butter knife,” the decision reads. Donnelly was found not criminally responsible on account of a mental disorder for that incident.

In conclusion, the board noted, “The accused has reoffended after long periods of remission between violent episodes and without any significant warning signs.”

“When ill, Mr. Donnelly has no insight into his deterioration. He requires significant supervision to ensure he does not cause further harm to the public.”


The document also reveals Donnelly had made some “good progress” and in 2021 and 2022, he began to have more visits to Coastal Transitional Cottages, in anticipation he may be given a conditional discharge recommendation.

But testimony was heard that the transitional cottages “failed to supervise” Donnelly in the way that was recommended in the treatment plan.

Former Attorney General Barry Penner told CTV News the April decision highlights some issues within the institutions.

“The first reading of this order indicates that there were staffing shortages, staffing turnover, problems in people checking emails and receiving the important information and acting on that information,” Penner said. “There is a bit of a pattern here of chaos, almost bureaucratic chaos happening, within the provincial institutions that were supposed to be looking after people like Mr. Donnelly.”

He said there appears to be some disorganization in administration.

“That’s very disturbing, because we see what can go wrong. This is a risky, risky endeavor, handling these people. They need to be handled appropriately. And fortunately, it looks like in this case, from what we see so far, it looks like Mr. Donnelly was not appropriately supervised or handled in accordance with the direction of the review board,” he said.

On Thursday, Premier David Eby announced an independent investigator has been appointed to find out how Donnelly was able to get a day pass and attend the Light Up Chinatown! festival with no supervision.

Donnelly has been charged with three counts of aggravated assault and remains in custody following Sunday’s attack.

The BC Review Board is an independent tribunal that holds hearings to make and review depositions for any accused who’s been determined to be not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder or unfit to stand trial. Top Stories

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