What nearly occurredTHE Criminal Code Review Board ruled the Selkirk Mental Health Centre may grant Vince Li supervised hospital-grounds pass privileges, subject to the following provisions:
-- Passes start at 15 minutes and increase incrementally to a maximum of one hour, twice daily;
-- Treatment staff are of the opinion that his condition is stable and it would be appropriate and safe for him to leave the locked ward;
-- While he is away from the locked ward on any supervised hospital-grounds passes, he is to be escorted at all times by two staff members who are equipped with either a two-way radio or a cellphone;
-- Security staff at the hospital are informed when each grounds pass is to occur.
The board also ruled that if Li were required to leave the centre's grounds for any reason that he be escorted by an armed police officer.
An attorney general, he said, should not demand that a judge or tribunal or independent party come to a particular decision. '(That) is simply wrong and, more than that, it strikes at the very heart of the democratic system that we enjoy in this province and this country.'"
But there's no story here. Of course he should be allowed to get up and move around. Every criminal has that right... until Stephen Harper in one of his usual flares of brilliance introduces legislation to prevent convicts from standing or walking.
How would you feel if a loved one of yours came down with a serious mental illness that was out with their control, and uninformed ignorant people with zero knowledge decided your child was `vermin` whose life was `wretched`, and that they did not deserve any help! Thankfully it is not these people who make these decisions. Its highly trained and educated people who know what paranoid schizophrenia is about, which I am afraid is more than we can say for you.
I will answer your question - if this had happened to my son I am absolutely postitive that I would feel the same way that Tim`s family feel because my emotions would be so powerful lthat I would not be able to think straight, or see any other perspective than my pain. That is why the families of victims are not the people designated to make the decisions about how someone like Li is to be treated and where. This is not about revenge for the McLeans (because revenge is not going to help them anyway, even if they think it is). It is about how best to deal with a person who is very ill and needs help. We help sick people in this society. We are not savages in this country, although after being on this thread for a while I am beginning to wonder about many of you.
Speaking of waking up, you need to wake up to the fact that the law does not exist to provide you or anyone else with revenge. As far as soothing or alleviating victims' suffering, that is not the function of the law nor of the penal system. The law is, or should be, purely pragmatic. Soothing is the job of counselors, victim relief agencies, etc.
If you want revenge, get yourself a voodoo doll or pray to some Old Testament deity or something like that. Or move to a country where you have public stonings or whatever. In a civilized society, even the worst of the worst should be treated in a civilized manner. Not coddled. But if we get all emotional and sacrifice certain core values for the sake of revenge-lust, then the whole society is degraded.
In civilized countries we have trials, the victim's family doesn't determine guilt and administer retribution. If you don't like that, why not move to a country like Somalia where that is the norm? If the rule of law upsets you so much?
Mental illness is no excuse for what he did. When he murdered this poor young man, he lost any rights in society. This vermon doesn't deserve a cent to support his wretched life..............and I bet all you bleeding hearts would feel the same way if he had done this to one of your loved ones! At least be forthright enough to admit that."
It's becoming clearer to me now why there is such a large and enthusistic audience for tyranny and chaos. At the core, we are just wild animals.
As a society, our descent in to savagery appears never more than a few heart-beats away. Lord of the Flies, anyone.
Punishment is one thing but do we really need to be cruel and keep him locked up and tied down for the rest of his life? I am so sorry for the family and friends but that doesn't make me act inhuman myself. If professional doctors recommend it then I support thier expert opinions.
This is the comment I posed on timslaw.ca::
Actually Rob, people in prison do get rights to go outside. Li is not legally a criminal and should not be treated worse than one. He should not be punished and deprived for actions which were completely out of his control and unintentional. Letting him outside on supervised walks, would not pose a risk to anybody! If it did, the doctors and review board would not have ruled in the manner they did. Li is much less dangerous than he was when he committed the act and is a completely different person. To deny him the basic human right of sunshine and fresh air, is inhumane and uncivilized. Being allowed to go outside would help facilitate his rehabilitation and treatment as confinement can often cause further mental illness, such as depression.
Lisa: Li was not convicted of murder, he was found not criminally responsible of the crime. That means, legally, he is not considered to be a criminal. His mental illness is not an excuse, it is a reason. His actions were completely out of Li`s conscious control and were unintentional. He was not mentally present and was not aware of his actions, therefore, he should not be further punished and deprived. Letting him outside on supervised walks would not pose a risk to anybody. And if he did have an episode, he would simply be taken inside by the two staff members supervising him. It`s not like he is going to run away without somebody seeing him and murder somebody! He is not the same, dangerous person he was two years ago and we should not treat him as if he is.
The doctors and review board members should have been trusted in their decision. Allowing Li to have supervised walks, would not have posed a risk to anybody. He is not the same person and is not in the same mental condition as he was when he committed that horrific act. He is much more stable and much less dangerous. The government should not overrule that decision to cater to the misinformed public opinion regarding mental disorders. To deny Li the human right of sunshine and fresh air, is inhumane.
"This is an issue of public safety, not public ignorance. Li is a threat to the public and has a proven history of what he is capable of. Even if the doctors find a balance of medicines that minimize his symptoms, he will always will be a threat. Because, all he has to do one day is say, hmmm....I feel good today, I don't need these meds anymore, plus all they do is make me feel tired all the time. The second that happens and it could easily, someone else could be his next victim.
You can debate a million issues surrounding this, but it all comes down to if Li stops taking his medications, the public is then at great risk of harm. Thinking this way does not make one ignorant, it’s more common sense actually. Despite what all the bleeding hearts in this country want to believe, the fact is, yes sometimes the greater good of society has to come before the needs of one person. Especially, when that person is for lack of a better word a ticking time bomb just waiting to go off again."
Yes he would be a threat to the public if he was released. However, that is not the issue here. He would not pose any risk to the public by being allowed 15 min walks, supervised! He is a different person than he was when he committed that act. He is much more mentally stable and much less dangerous. Confinement will not help facilitate his mental condition and can cause depression and other mental health issues.
I love how so many people are 'outraged' at this development. "Our justice system is too relaxed!", "Lock up those criminals!", "Li should never see the light of day!". What ignorant garbage. He is not being freed, not even close. He would be getting 15 mins of being able to be outside, and be escorted by two people, one of them armed. He is schizophrenic, and was not held responsible for his actions. He did not understand the nature of his actions, he was not mentally present, was not aware of what he was doing, his actions were unintentional and were completely out of his control. Everyone is so quick to look for someone to blame for this whole mess, when really sometimes there is nothing, or no-one, to blame. You can only blame the mental illness. You cannot blame the person. He was a victim of his mental disorder.
The fact of the matter is that the decision to let Li out of his cell to be able to go outside was made by a board made up of psychologists, professionals in the field of mental illness. How cocky are some of you people, to declare their decision is wrong? Don't you think that they have taken Li's past actions into account? What he did is pretty hard to forget. Clearly, they decided that Li was of a minimal risk to escape of re-offend while on supervised walks. This would not pose any risk to the public.
Yes Tim McLean died a horrible death. But will mistreating someone who is ill bring McLean back to life? People have to remember that this was not a conscious decision on Li's part. He was suffering from hallucinations. Very realistic ones. His actions were unconscious and involuntary and the mentally ill need to be treated in a humane and civilized manner, with rights, respect and dignity.
We can't all paint criminals with the same brush here. Has anyone thought about how Vincent Li feels? How would you like to have been killing a demon in the name of god, only to find out that you had beheaded someone, and eaten their flesh? I would be quite inconsolable I think.
If I were Li`s lawyer, I would be filing a Charter violation by the government. Denying him the right to walk outside is a clear violation of human rights, "cruel and unusual punishment." Plus, the government cannot overrule the criminal code. The province is stepping over their bounds and is clearly not acting with any facts, reason or logic. They are catering to the misinformed public opinion. In this case, ignorance and revenge overcame reason, which is sad for a civilized society.
An oppertunity to go outside might be very benificial to him and his healing, I hope that he soon gets the chance to walk on grass and feel sun on his back, even in provincial and federal jails, there is the oppertunity to go outside sometimes. It is unnatural and unhealthy to be without grass, air, and sunshine.
The intolerance around people with mental disabilities is staggering and jawdropping. It would probably be beneficial for some of these people calling for Li's execution, revocation of citizenship, and deportation, to be hauled in chains before a human rights tribunal and be punished as criminals.
As someone who suffers from a mental condition, I can understand why people are afraid to seek help. The stigma is just too great.
For gosh sake, we're talking about an escorted walk -- escorted by two staff for a few minutes a day. Let the man have some fresh air. We're not talking about letting him go free. Leg irons? Geeze, are we living in the 19th century? Nice try Lindor, but I blame you and the media for whipping up this frenzy in the first place. When you write: "That's why we don't allow victims (or their families) to decide punishment" is sure rings hollow for me. You've been siting on the sideline of the criminal justice system pronouncing judgment for years. Now you're preaching restraint and perspective? Puh-lease!
Regardless of whether or not Vince Li will ever be freed, there are basic human rights issues at play here. Most inmates in the federal system are allowed some periods outside unless they are being punished for an offence committed in the prison. Being able to get outdoors is essential for both physical and mental health and is considered a basic human right.
Not having a secure outdoor area at the hospital in Selkirk for patients to access is IMHO an abuse of their basic human rights. This applies to Li as well as any other patients of the hospital.
The need here is to balance the human rights of the patients with the need to protect society from those deemed too dangerous to be allowed freedom.
I'm surprised that a secure area for patients to access has not been established there already. It's just one of those things that one would think would naturally be incorporated into the design of such a hospital.
Unless of course the governing mental health doctrine of this province is that mental health patients should be forced to live in a punitive environment, which seems to be the case.
If I were Li`s lawyer, I would be filing a Charter violation by the government. Denying him the right to walk outside is a clear violation of human rights, "cruel and unusual punishment." It is completely inhumane and unnecessary to deny him the right to go outside, supervised! He would not pose a risk to anybody as he is in a much better mental state than he was two years ago, and is far less dangerous! Plus, the government cannot overrule the criminal code. The province is stepping over their bounds and is clearly not acting with any facts, reason or logic. They are catering to the misinformed public opinion. In this case, ignorance and revenge overcame reason, which is sad for a civilized society.
As I see it wrote: The fact that he tried to escape suggests to me that he was fully aware that what he had done was a criminal act…. He obviously knew that he did something criminal.
I’m not sure how much exposure you’ve had to the mentally ill, but there are 4 major types of schizophrenia. Just because someone isn’t catatonic or disorganized in thought doesn’t mean that they know they are doing something criminal.
Paranoid schizophrenics are able to reason and think logically within their reality. From your perspective, his actions clearly indicate that he was aware that he was killing an innocent person and that there were police officers outside trying to apprehend him. In reality, he could have been perceiving anything. If you are killing a demon and hell’s minions are outside trying to stop you…yeah, you will still try to escape, taunt them, etc… But you don’t think you are doing anything wrong. In fact, they are often thinking the opposite.
I have been called every name in the book. I have been part of more conspiracies than you can imagine. I’ve been an angel of mercy, a mobster, the voice of the devil. Those who thought I was good clung to me. Those who thought I was evil ran from me. You cannot speculate about what was going through his mind and what his actions meant.