Push board to deny pass to Li, Tories tell province
Manitoba’s Opposition Tories suggested Tuesday the government should influence the Criminal Code Review Board in order to ensure Vince Li is denied escorted walkabouts outside the Selkirk Mental Health Centre.
The board presided over a hearing Monday during which Li’s psychiatrist recommended his patient be allowed twice-daily “ground passes” that would see him accompanied by two guards to an unenclosed, outdoor part of the facility’s grounds.
Li has been at the facility since March 2009, when he was found not criminally responsible for killing and beheading fellow passenger Tim McLean aboard a Greyhound bus in 2008.
The Criminal Code Review Board must review Li’s status annually, and its decision on Monday’s hearing is due shortly.
Justice Minister Andrew Swan said Tuesday the Crown opposes the doctor’s suggestion that Li be allowed to roam the grounds, even while supervised.
But Tory Leader Hugh McFadyen suggested Swan should go further and establish a policy that would provide a guideline to the board to deny any freedoms that aren’t “no risk” when it comes to NCR patients like Li who commit the most serious violent crimes. If the board’s decision went against such a policy, the members could be replaced, he suggested.
“They can revoke appointments if they’re unhappy with the decision,” McFadyen said. “The accountability ultimately rests in (the legislature) with elected officials.”
Swan called the suggestion “scary.”
“I’m not going to step in and tell an independent board what to do,” Swan said, noting he doesn’t have the power to do that anyway, as the board is governed by the federal Criminal Code.
Swan said the Crown could appeal the board’s decision if it is unhappy with the outcome.
Swan said he will not consider fencing in the facility’s grounds to enhance security for walkabouts that may be granted to Li or other patients. “It’s not a jail. It’s a mental health facility,” he said.
What is the goal of keeping him locked up forever? What will be the outcome? Putting people in caged environments, poor environments, "punishing" environments is not going to help him recover. What he did was terrible and it is a terrible tragedy for the family of the victim. Perhaps denying him the simple privilege of a 15 minute SUPERVISED walk will give him enough sense of being, will dehumanize him less, and help him maintain his mental health so to prevent another tragedy.
People do not act like human beings when we do not treat them like human beings. That is a huge problem with the penal and mental health systems in Canada right now (and around the world no doubt). We need to treat those with mental disorders, in a humane, dignified and respectful manner, to assist them in controlling their illness.
What harm could a 15 minute supervised walk do anyways? It will not pose any risk to the public.