Canoe News

November 10, 1999

Mother sent to psychiatric centre

Canoe News

CRANBROOK, B.C. (CP) -- A Calgary mother found not guilty of killing her two children by reason of mental disorder was ordered into psychiatric care Wednesday.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Tom Melnick ordered Diane Mitsuko Yano into the Forensic Psychiatric Centre in Port Coquitlam for an undetermined period.

The facility's review board will meet within 90 days to determine Yano's status and will review her case every year.

Yano, 37, drowned her son Joshua, three, and daughter Brittney, five, in a bathtub in Fairmont Hot Springs in southeast B.C. last June.

In a one-day trial Tuesday psychiatrist Elizabeth Zoffman testified that Yano was unable to determine right from wrong at the time of the killings because of her delusions and psychosis.

Zoffman told the court that Yano said voices told her to send the children to heaven.

Yano had a history of severe depression.

She tried to commit suicide twice when she was 19 and again in 1998.

Her severe depressive behaviour returned following a radical session of chemotherapy to fight breast cancer in 1997.

The depression was accompanied by psychotic episodes with paranoia, severe delusions and auditory hallucinations.

"She felt something outside of her was compelling her to do what she did," Zoffman testified Tuesday.

A Crown psychiatrist corroborated Zoffman's findings.

The Crown and defence made a joint submission asking Melnick to consider a defence of mental disorder.

Copyright © 1999, Canoe Limited Partnership.