British Columbia

No escorted absences for delusional man who killed 2, board rules

The lawyer for Jaons Foulds, found not criminally responsible for killing two people in 2017, wanted the option of having escorted absences from the forensic hospital in Coquitlam. He was denied and families of his victims are thankful.

Lawyer for Jason Foulds said client has made some progress, wanted hospital passes on the table

Dylan Buckle, left, and Braxton Leask on a vacation to Alaska with Buckle's family. Buckle and Leask were killed in June 2017. Their killer, Jason Foulds, was found not criminally responsible for their deaths and had his first hearing with the B.C. Review Board Friday. (Terry Buckle)

Jason Foulds no longer believes he is related to Adolf Hitler, a B.C. tribunal heard but is still delusional and a threat to public safety.

Foulds was found not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder (NCRMD) in June for killing two men — Dylan Buckle, 21, and Braxton Leask, 20 — and attempting to kill Zane Hernandez in June 2017 during an attack in Lund, a village near Powell River.

On Friday morning, the B.C. Review Board held a session at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam to determine what liberties Foulds would enjoy over the next 12 months.

"As much as we're grieving our sons, it's also my job now to protect and take care of the boys who are still alive," Terry Buckle, Dylan Buckle's mother said. 

Left to right: Terry Buckle, Silvana Hernandez and Nishelle Guignard are mothers of Jason Foulds' victims. (Christian Amundson/CBC)

"We are the voice of Powell River. We are the voice of Braxton and Dylan and Zane," added Brandon Leask's mother, Nishelle Guignard.

Friday's hearing provided an illuminating look inside the mind of a delusional man.

But for the families of the victims, it marked the start of what could be years of hearings to observe his progress.

Bizarre delusions

Psychiatrist Dr. Chris Robertson was asked about Foulds' delusional beliefs, which intensified in the months leading up to the killings.

Foulds, he said, falsely believed his victims were committing sexual assaults of young women and he had to stop them.

He also believed in "quantum mortality," wherein if a person dies in this reality they go on to live in another. This, Robertson said, may have reduced the seriousness of the killings in his mind.

Foulds also believed he was being communicated with telepathically and was related to Hitler. He added those beliefs seem to have become less strong as treatment with antipsychotic drugs has yielded improvements.

Robertson added it is "uncertain what the course of his illness will be." "He may very well have new and different beliefs in the future," he said.

The Forensic Psychiatric Hospital is located in Coquitlam. The B.C. Review Board holds its hearings there. (Christian Amundson/CBC)

'He needs strict custody'

The review board is the province's tribunal for making decisions about the liberties of people found NCRMD or unfit to stand trial.

During Friday's hearing, its small chamber was packed with friends and family of Foulds' victims. 

Foulds wore dark blue sweats, and white Velcro sneakers and sported closely cropped hair and a trimmed beard, as he faced the three-member board. 

His lawyer, Paul McMurray, agreed his client's actions were "devastating" but argued the psychiatric hospital's director should be allowed to approve escorted community visits if his client's condition improves.

Lawyer Paul McMurray said it's not entirely surprising his client was ordered into strict custody but emphasized he had made progress with his schizophrenia. (Christian Amundson/CBC)

Crown lawyer Lyle Hillaby disagreed.

"Little has been done to change the risk picture," Hillaby said. "He needs strict custody to continue."

The board, after deliberating for four minutes, agreed. Foulds will not be permitted to leave the hospital for 12 months or until a new hearing is ordered.

'See you next year'

After the hearing wrapped, the mothers of Foulds' three victims said they were happy with the outcome.

"If wellness is in the cards for Jason, then that would be wonderful," Silvana Hernandez said. "But we really need to see it live and in action."

The three of them already share a bond created by the killings. They have matching tattoos to commemorate the boys.

Now, they're pledging to stick together through the review board process, which, by law, grants Foulds a hearing every 12 months to assess if he can be released.

They shared a brief hug before walking to their cars for the long journey back to Powell River.

"See you next year," Buckle said to the others.

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