Bus beheader passes delayed
Manitoba Justice Minister Andrew Swan and the Selkirk Mental Health Centre have stepped in to prevent any immediate movement by bus beheader Vince Li outside the complex, despite the Criminal Code Review Board's order to allow it.
Swan told reporters Thursday that escorted walks by Li, as approved in a board decision earlier in the day, will not be granted until the health centre upgrades its security. He did not specify what security will be added, saying such changes are up to the complex's management.
Swan has written to and spoken to federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson about the Manitoba government's concerns for public safety regarding the review board's decision, saying that the "demonstrably unfit" order "seriously undermines public confidence in the Canadian system of justice."
The mentally ill killer was set to be permitted escorted walks on the grounds of the Selkirk Mental Health Centre, as of June 7.
The Criminal Code Review Board, which reviews Li's status every year, decided to follow a psychiatrist's advice that Li was ready for a ground pass, which would have allowed him to head outdoors at the health centre while accompanied by two security personnel.
The grounds pass privileges would have begun with 15-minute passes and could have increased to a maximum of one-hour periods, up to twice per day.
The decision came after the family of Tim McLean, the man Li brutally killed on a Greyhound bus in 2008, lobbied to impose minimum sentences on those found not criminally responsible of killing someone else.
Li was found not criminally responsible for McLean's killing in March 2009 and has been at the Selkirk Mental Health Centre ever since.
I can't believe the haters posting on this site. Are people so incapable of understanding the reality that mental illness can cause someone to do something they would never do if in a healthy state of mind. It's exactly this sort of stigmatization of the mentally ill that leads them not to seek the help they need because of the shame they are made to feel about it by the kinds of small minded people posting their vengeance and hatred on this forum. I received the shock of my life one day when my supposedly educated cousin and his wife made mocking comments about the gentle schizophrenic they had for a neighbour. There is just way too much fear and ignorance out there about mental health issues.
Hate the sin, not the sinner.
It's not about freedom for Li - it's about treatment for his illness. Mental illness is commonly ignored because you can't see it. The fact is, keeping him inside and locked up makes him even more of a danger. Part of treatment must be allowing him to feel like a human being....not a caged animal just waiting to break out.
What happened to Tim is horrible. My heart breaks for his family and loved ones. However hating Li will do nothing to bring him back. What we should direct our energy to, as a society, is recognizing mental illness as a true illness, and treating people accordingly. Many of our greatest socialized costs (homelessness and addiction) are caused by untreated mental illness. Lets spend less money giving corporate tax breaks to the oil companies in this country and lets fund mental health care programs properly. That won't save Tim - but it could save someone elses life in the future.
Goodness gracious, you'd think the SMH had moved to bring in a harem of serving wenches to feed Li grapes, pedicure his toes and fan him with palm leaves as he rested on a quilted and perfumed divan.
Looks, folks, read the article again. Read it carefully. I promise you, it's not nearly as awful and terrifying as many commenters here seem to believe. Li is simply being allowed to take a 15-minute walk around the SMH grounds, under guard. Big whoop.
If you really think that a brief stroll immediately outside the hospital, under guard, is this much of a scandal, then I'm not sure what to say about your sense of scale or proportion. Li is essentially just getting a negligible offering that he would basically have, were he found criminally responsible; in most prisons, prisoners get a chance to hang out in the yard, yes? Same deal.
As for the fearmongering and handwringing about safety: mental illness, learn you some. The risk of Li hurting anyone again is very minimal, the risk of him escaping under this arrangement less so.
Oh, and as for this garbage:
"Wow !! I wonder how a Canadian would be treated in Li's homeland if we committed the same crime ?? "
Why is that relevant at all? That Canadian would probably be executed in secret, without fair trial; happily, we have a superior justice system, and pointing out other countries' atrocious human rights records is hardly an argument for Canada to imitate their corrupt, secretive, and civil rights-less systems.
What people fail to realize is that all of the notorious (serial)killers have been given out door recreational time while in prison. The most notorious serial killers, murders, rapist, etc. get 23 hours locked in their cell, and 1 hour outside/recreational time.
Did you read the first two paragraphs of the article? Most of the opinions on here are equally as ignorant.
The people treating Li have years of education and experience. It could be they know what they are doing. Their comment regarding not knowing how he will respond to time outdoors is a responsible position to take. Regardless of the amount of time that goes by prior to Li being let outside of his locked ward nobody will ever know with absolute certainty how Li will respond once outside. The only way to know is to try it in a secure fashion, which, by the way, is what is being proposed.
There is no gain to be had in making Li suffer. He is a patient in a mental health facility and, like it or not, is entitled to adequate care. Mature people know that unpleasant situations still require care and diligence. The hatred on this forum is irresponsible, childish and does a disservice to our community. Li should not be further punished and deprived of basic human rights, for actions which were out of his control. Li is a victim of his mental illness and that is what you must blame. You cannot blame Li, because he was not mentally present during the act. He is a different person now that he has been receiving treatment and medications and to deny him the basic human right of fresh air and sunshine, would be inhumane and uncivilized.
Li is not the same person or in the same mental state as he was when he killed McLean. He is attending treatment and is on medications. Letting him go on supervised walks, will not pose a risk to anybody, as he is not that dangerous person anymore. He should not be transferred to another facility. He is responding well to treatment and medications and denying him the right to go outside for sunshine and fresh air would be inhumane and uncivilized. We need to treat the mentally ill with respect and dignity. Li should not be further punished and deprived for an act which he had no control over.