A man accused of stabbing three individuals at a Vancouver Chinatown festival was deemed a “significant threat” with a “high risk of relapsing” by the British Columbia Review Board five months before he was allowed to roam free and purportedly committed the crimes.
About the suspect: Blair Evan Donnelly, 64, was apprehended shortly after he was implicated in the triple stabbing incident during the “Light Up Chinatown!” festival on Sunday evening. A married couple in their 60s and a woman in her 20s sustained “serious but non-life-threatening” injuries from the attack.
It was later reported that Donnelly was on a day pass from a forensic psychiatric institution at the time of the attack. Records show that in 2008, he was admitted to the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital after being charged but found not criminally responsible for the death of his 16-year-old daughter in 2006.
Significant threat: New details have emerged revealing that a review by the BC Review Board on April 13 determined that Donnelly continued to “meet the threshold of significant threat,” leading to an order for his detention for eight months.
While he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and substance use disorder, the review board noted that he had no apparent signs of mental deterioration leading up to the recent incident.
A history of violence: Donnelly’s history included previous violent incidents while on day passes from the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital. In 2009, he stabbed a friend while on a day pass, resulting in a conviction for assault with a weapon. In 2017, another incident occurred when he attacked a fellow patient with a butter knife shortly after returning from leave.
Despite these incidents, he was allowed day passes again. Former Attorney General Barry Penner highlighted issues within the institutions, citing staffing shortages and administrative disorganization.
Donnelly has since been charged with three counts of aggravated assault following the recent incident.
Independent review: Amid calls for more accountability in the review board process, BC Premier David Eby announced on Thursday that former Abbotsford police chief Bob Rich would lead an independent review into why Donnelly was released despite the BC Review Board’s assessment. Eby expressed concern about how a “violent, psychotic individual” was released into the community.