Welcome to my Crime and Justice blog! I am a 19 year old criminal justice student at the University of Winnipeg. I advocate for prisoners' rights, human rights, equality and criminal justice/prison system reforms.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Vince Li granted supervised walks outside

Vince Li, the man who stabbed and beheaded a passenger aboard a Greyhound bus, has won the right to have escorted walks.
The Criminal Code Review Board of Manitoba has approved a plan to let Li walk around the grounds of the Selkirk Mental Health Centre, just north of Winnipeg, as long as he is escorted by two staff members.

The passes will start at 15 minutes and increase incrementally to a maximum of one hour, twice daily, according to the review board's written decision.
Li, 41, has been in a secure portion of the centre since he was found not criminally responsible for the brutal killing of Tim McLean, 22.
McLean was returning home to Winnipeg from Edmonton. As the bus neared Portage La Prairie, Man., Li pulled a buck knife from his side and began stabbing McLean for no apparent reason. He also ate some of the body parts and cut off McLean's head.
Other passengers fled the bus and stood on the side of the Trans-Canada Highway, while Li was barricaded inside the vehicle for five hours.
He was arrested by RCMP when he attempted to jump from a bus window.
Psychiatric evidence at his trial suggested he is a schizophrenic who suffered a major psychotic episode.
He was in a Winnipeg courtroom Monday for a mandatory annual review of his detention
At the hearing, Li's doctors asked the board to consider allowing Li 15-minute escorted walks on the grounds of the Selkirk Mental Health Centre.
The Crown and McLean's family opposed to the move.
Manitoba's Opposition Progressive Conservatives also opposed it because the hospital grounds are not fenced in. Party Leader Hugh McFadyen has called on the government to transfer Li to a fenced-in facility outside the province.

I completely agree with the decision to allow Li to have supervised passes outside for sunshine and fresh air. This a basic human right which he deserves. The mentally ill need to be treated in a humane and civilized manner and denying him that right, would have been cruel and inhumane. He is legally not a criminal and should not be treated worse than a prisoner. The mentally ill need to be treated with dignity and respect. If Li is attending programming and taking his medications, he does not pose a risk to anybody by being allowed to have supervised time outside. He cannot escape with two guards supervising him at all times. Even if he did manage to escape, he would not be a risk to the public as he is under medications and his mental condition is not nearly as bad as it was when he killed Tim McLean. I am glad the review board was humane in their decision. Confinement in his room all the time, will not help his condition. Solitary confinement is the worst punishment somebody can be subjected to. Li`s actions were not intentional, therefore he should not be further punished and deprived for an act which he did not intend to commit and for which he was not mentally present. The only reason someone would oppose the supervised walks, would be revenge, and that is not justifiable.

Letting Li out on short and supervised walks, is humane treatment for someone who is mentally ill. He was found not criminally responsible and I understand the public`s anger and inability to accept this ruling because of the barbaric act he committed and because the public wants to assign blame to somebody, but we can only blame schizophrenia in this case. Li is a victim of his mental disorder. If we as a society succumb to acting barbarically towards Li by not granting him basic human rights, wont we be equally despicable. 

Two wrongs dont make a right. An eye for an eye will only make the world go blind.

I hope the public becomes more educated about mental illness. The man they are allowing on 15 min walks is not the same person who brutally murdered Tim McLean. He is now attending programming and treatment and is on medications. People who have diseases of the mind, should not be in prison.

I am shocked and disgusted by the public`s ignorance and lack of understanding about mental illnesses. They lack compassion and sympathy for the mentally ill, and call for barbaric and uncivilized measures such as deportation, imprisonment and even execution. Vincent Li needs treatment, not prison. I am disgusted by the people who believe those with mental illnesses deserve no rights and no sympathy. Li should not be treated as a criminal. Li suffers from a mental illness that people are too quick to stigmatize. It is not right or humane to cage someone for the rest of their life because they had no control over their actions. Those calling for harsh and brutal punishment, simply do not understand mental disorders. Escorted walks will benefit his mental health. Have some compassion and a little humanity people.  

The headline of this CBC story is misleading and inflammatory. First of all, you cannot call Vince Li, the greyhound killer, because technically under the law, he is not a criminal. He was found not criminally responsible due to mental disorder. I cant believe this is even news. Being allowed supervised walks is a human right, not a newsworthy story. The media is over sensationalizing this story because they know it will result in a public uproar. 

Clearly, none of the public understands mental illness. If they anything about psychosis and psychotic episodes, they wouldnt be so condemning of this man. Would you condemn someone if their brakes failed and they killed somebody with their vehicle. Is neurological failure somehow morally wrong whereas vehicular failure is morally right. Vince Li did not make a choice to kill. He suffered from neurological failure. Psychosis is not a conscious choice. It is the subconscious acting out things that you are not even aware of. Shame on the people who advocate for the death penalty in Canada. We should not imprison or execute those who are mentally ill and have no control over their actions. 

I do not understand how endlessly punishing a mentally ill person can make some people feel better about themselves or the victims. If vengeance and retribution and punishment are all that they are after, then we dont require a judicial system at all. All we would require are assassins and those who practice vigilante justice. The doctors and review board who made this decision are obviously considering public safety and risk and came to the conclusion that supervised walks are not a risk to public safety and are a humane right for Li. Being allowed escorted walks will not harm anybody or put anybody in harm`s way, because Li is a different person than he was when he committed that crime. He is in a different mental state. 

There is an appalling lack of education about mental illnesses by the majority of the public. Li is a schizophrenic who suffered from a major psychotic episode. It was not Li`s fault he developed this disorder and he has no control over his actions. They were unconscious and involuntary and unintentional. His actions were not a choice. What Canada needs, is better education! There are so many hateful and ignorant people so intent on revenge. We should not brutally kill people for being sick with a mental disorder, which was out of their control. We live in a so-called civilized society! This is not the dark ages. 

Li is not a criminal. He is mentally ill. It was his mental disorder, delusions and voices which compelled him to commit that horrific act. It was not rational and not by choice. This was not an act of murder, as murder requires that the act be deliberate, intentional, planned, pre-meditated, etc. Punishing this man would serve no purpose. There is no reason or benefit to society derived from torturing this man. He should not be further punished and deprived for an act which he did not intend to commit. The doctors and review board has education and knowledge about mental disorders and they feel Li should be allowed supervised walks. Clearly, he does not pose a risk to the public or anybody, because he is a different person than he was when he committed the brutal act. 

People advocating to lock him up, execute him and never let him see daylight again are no better than Li is! Where is your humanity! 

Yes, Li did tell the police after the act that he was sorry and that he was guilty. But that just demonstrates that he did suffer from a psychotic episode. This is not evidence of intent, or a guilty mind. 

Lack of sunlight can cause many problems, such as depression and erratic behaviour. Confinement would only worsen Li`s mental condition. We must treat the mentally ill in a humane manner or we as a society, are no better than they are. Schizophrenia can be treated, controlled and successfully managed. I agree, the crime committed was horrible and brutal but treating the mentally ill like criminals or animals serves no useful purpose whatsoever. Has anybody ever heard of forgiveness! Li did not kill McLean out of intent or hatred. It is not right or humane to cage and confine someone for the rest of their life because they had no control over what they were doing. Escorted walks will help Li`s mental condition. 

I completely agree with allowing him to have supervised walks outside for sunshine and fresh air. Denying that basic human right, would be considered inhumane and uncivilized. Li is a different person mentally, than he was when he committed that brutal act on McLean. He has been attending treatment programming and taking medications. He is not nearly as dangerous as he was two years ago. Li is a victim of his mental disorder and needs to be treated in a humane manner and with dignity and respect. Confinement without seeing sunshine, will likely only worsen his mental condition and can lead to depression and erratic behaviour. There is absolutely no reason to be opposed to supervised walks outside, other than if you are seeking revenge, which is not justifiable. 

Cerain members of the Winnipeg media give him the convenient label of "psycho killer" (thanks, Alfred Hitchcock) without realizing that his condiiton is responsible for his actions.

He did something that no person in their right mind would do. Depending on your point of view, you could argue that he did not "kill" Mr. McLean so much as "cause the death of" him by being an instrument of his illness.

It's difficult to wrap one's head around because when someone is killed, people want to get angry and someone must pay. However if mental problems did not have such a stigma attached, perhaps people like Mr. Li would get the help they need before events such as the death of Tim McLean occur.

I wish Li all the best in a long path to recovery and rehabilitation. This isn't diminish the pain being experienced by those who knew and loved Tim McLean; rather, I think that it is important to recognize that despite Li's actions, he is a human suffering with mental illness who deserves to be treated with respect and dignity.

I certainly can understand the family's need for revenge. The thought of allowing your son's killer ANY freedom at all must truly drive the parents to near insanity. If the victim were my child I would want his murderer punished in every way possible for the rest of his miserable life.

Having said that, the more detached, reasoning part of my brain says that this killer is a very sick man with a chemical make-up so out of whack that it would serve no purpose to anyone to disallow 15 minutes of sunshine a day. He asked the police to kill him. His wiring is not right. He CANNOT think clearly without medication. Does he deserve 15 lousy minutes of sunshine?
I say yes.

This man is not a criminal. He is sick. 

I understand Tims family are opposed to anything with regards to this guy. However, it is escorted walks on the facility property. Its pretty well the equivalent of being allowed out of a solitary confinement cell for a walk on the prison grounds. He's not going anywhere.

You can't cage the man up and expect him to get better. Some fresh air should do him good. There’s plenty who say that he should never be allowed to be in society again, even on 15min walks around with guards. Would you just put him down like a rabid animal? Because that’s how they treat this man when he’s locked in a cage.

Even criminals should be allowed to go outside every now and then. Or what’s the point of keeping them around if they can’t get better?

The public is only interested in vengeance and revenge and punishment for the mentally ill which is disgusting. 

Before the anger floods in: Remember, if he was in prison he'd be allowed on prison grounds. Difference is, he'd be a lot more dangerous to guards there, since they're not trained to deal with schizophrenia but instead standard violent criminals (who are different to deal with).

I hope he gets better and can return to as normal a life as possible.

I understand the anger and pain of the family, but at the same time what is the reason they are opposing him being allowed escorted walks? Revenge?

He should not be punished and deprived for an act which he had zero control over. 

of course the man should get supervised walks, what kind of barbaric system keeps him locked up like an animal? he is a sick man, and maybe dangerous when unmedicated and unsupervised, but we can do better than this.
This man didn't choose to go down this path- he was taken down it through biological or chemical imbalance or by some other means that led to an inability to function. 

Hey, this guy isn't being turned loose on society. He's getting escorted walks on the grounds of a high security facility - slowly building up to an eventual maximum of two hours a day. Even serial killers locked up for life are allowed fresh air every day.

He is mentally ill. The lack of understanding of this horrible disease by most of you is sickening.

The Media insists on 'crafting' sensationalistic headlines such as this as a way to tap into existing anxiety but it comes at a price to our Criminal Justice system.

Try as I may, I cannot wrap my head around the idea of 'punishment' for an individual that is mentally deranged. I do understand that Public Safety is paramount & if persons capable of such deeds need to be locked away indefinitely then so be it.
That said, I see mental illness as in & off itself as a form of 'punishment'. This man didn't choose to go down this path- he was taken down it through biological or chemical imbalance or by some other means that led to an inability to function. There is no reference to drug or alcohol abuse to my knowledge.
Therefore I question the morality of extracting ' punishment' for the sake of punishment from someone not of sound mind.

The easiest thing to do is get angry and demand revenge. That is allowing yourself to be controlled by your most basic human emotion and in my opinion, is much more cowardly. I'll take a more civilised society over the US version thanks.

It also doesn't take much research and reading to figure out how much of a total and complete failure thier justice and penal system is. I susgest people like you move south of the 49th if you admire their bloated, ineffective, and more expensive version of eye for an eye.

The point and goal of our criminal system is rehabilitation. What good is it to keep a man locked up with no fresh air or exercise outdoors? He is being supervised, and cannot leave the grounds. If he suffers another psychotic episode (yes, what made him kill someone) he is surrounded by people who know what to do. Plus, where would he get a machete from?

Those who comment and say this is crazy and unfair...clearly you don't understand the justice system and are only out for revenge, and most seem to be ignoring the fact that the crime committed was due to a mental illness.

This revenge/eye-for-an-eye mentality is amusing when you think about it, because these are the same posters who will jump all over a story involving eye-for-an-eye justice if it occurs in a Muslin country. But hey, we're Canadians, so our vengeance is just and civilized. Right? Bull. We're Canadians, and we're better than that.

What happened to Mr. McLean is tragic and horrible and I can't even begin to imagine how his family felt and still feels, but remember that even though we all want to be angry with Mr. Li and think of him as the devil, this man is sick. He is completely disconnected from the reality we live in. I feel for Mr. McLean's family but I also feel for a man who had his life and reality robbed by a horrible disease. I hope he gets the help he needs.

It's great to know Canadians would rather execute the mentally ill then help them with their disease. Kind of when we used to execute women for being "witches", don't you think?

Mental illness is a terrible thing that affects more than 1 in 3 Canadians. It is very easy to blame or victimize people who have these disorders because they often act very differently than the rest of us.

If a person had cerebral palsy, we wouldn't blame or judge them for walking 'funny'. If a person had lung cancer, nobody would fault them for coughing fits. If a person is diagnosed with a mental disorder, especilly schizophrenia, how is it any different to fault them for the psychotic episodes which often plague them for years? Mr. Li complained of these episodes for a long time leading up to the tragic event on the bus and was continually let down by the health care system.

Granted, Mr. McLean's family has suffered a tragic loss and they will likely never feel that justice can be served. What is justice in this case? I don't know if it really exists. Mr. Li was born with a severe mental illness and should be treated as if he had any other disorder. It is important that he realises at some point what he has done wrong an receive his punishment/ treatment in due time. Meanwhile, every human being deserves to have some semblance of a reasonable quality of life.

The level of ignorance surrounding mental illness in this country astounds me. As terrible as Li's actions were, his behavior was a symptom of his sickness, and keeping someone locked away in a cell 24 hours a day will not help treat a mental disorder. They tried that in the middle ages. Didn't work. I am all for being tougher on criminals, but would you throw the book at a person who caused a fatal car accident because they had an aneurysm while they were behind the wheel? I can only assume you people have never had to deal with mental illness among your family or loved ones. I assure you, the sufferer is not in control of their actions, any more than someone with Parkinson's Disease is in control of their tremors. Is what happened to Tim McLean terrifying? Yes. Tragic? Yes. But so is the illness at work in Vince Li's head.

Ever since my psychology degree I have been ashamed of my fellow humans' gross misunderstanding of mental illness. To feel anything but compassion for this poor - yes POOR - suffering man betrays a complete lack of understanding. Those of you who think he should be publicly ridiculed all deserve dementia as you age, and I do hope you get it.

To all those enciting violence and hatred towards Li remember that he did not kill because he is bad, but instead because he suffers from an illness. Your anger is mis-spent. Instead about making a big deal about this, why not support more mental health services in the community?

Some of the comments here are ridiculous. He is walking in a completely supervised area for 15 minutes. It's not "eye for an eye" - it's called justice, which does not include revenge. Revenge based justice solves nothing and causes crime (hello? Texas much?)

This case is everything that's wrong with Canada? No way.
The ignorant posters on this page are everything that's wrong with Canada. (Yes, I know, you'll all "Thumbs down" my post and prove my point.)

Li's condition is not curable, he is most likely to wind up in a psychiatric institution for the rest of his life. This is a longer sentence than a prison sentence, from which he would simply be turned loose at the end of his sentence or after making parole. Fifteen minutes of fresh air with a double escort is not exactly a pass to wander around freely and at large.

What part of "mentally ill" do you not understand? This man was not rational, not sane. He didn't decide to kill someone for the pleasure of it. You can't "teach" the mentally ill that it's wrong to be mentally ill. And you might want to look around, the mentally ill have very little support and very little rights in our society. It's clear to me that you have next to NO knowledge of mental illness. It would seem you are one of the EXTREMELY fortunate people that have never been affected by it though a family member, friend, or personally. Yet again, some uneducated, narrow minded comments.

Shame on the CBC for this ridiculous article whose sole purpose is to inflame rather than inform.

For one, where is the news story? He will be escorted by two guards at all times and there is no indication that his psychosis has continued now that he is in hospital care.

Second, the headline is EXTREMELY misleading as it suggests that Mr. Li is now being returned to the community.

Third, the article reads, "Psychiatric evidence at his trial suggested he is a schizophrenic who suffered a major psychotic episode." The evidence at the trial about his diagnosis of schizophrenia was accepted by the Court and is accordingly now a legal fact whether the CBC likes it or not. Mr. Li was NOT convicted of murder. He was found not criminally responsible because of his mental illness (which is incidentally patently obvious to anyone who reads the facts)—an outcome that was agreed upon by both the prosecution and the defence. To summarize the outcome of the case as the article does is again misleading and irresponsible.

Given that the Court has found that Mr. Li was not criminally responsible because he was suffering from a major schizophrenic episode at the time of the offence, the CBC should stop hate mongering. Mr. Li was and continues to be ill. I am sure that once the medication came into effect and brought him out of his psychosis, he too was horrified by his actions. This does not detract from the pain and loss experienced by the McLean family everyday, but this whole incident should properly be characterized as a tragedy rather than as the act of a malicious person who needs to be punished.

I would expect this sort of childish and inaccurate reporting from Fox news, not from our national broadcaster.

This man is sick and we can all agree on that. Locking up this sick man and not allow him to see the day light is not going to make him be a better man, if that is the intention of our jail system. This solution is only a temporary fix for the society, to 'get rid' of people that we see as unsuitable in our society. What we need is some compassion and learn to forgive this sick man for his wrong doing, clearly he was not in the state of mind as you or I when he did this attrocious crime. Let him see some sunlight.

WHat an awfull headline. Trying to insight anger. Just awfull CBC.

There is a big difference between a person convicted of murder "Walking" in the sense that they are released and "walking" in this sense, meaning, he is walking outside for 15 minutes a day in a maximum security mental facility surrounded by mental health workers.

Regardless of your opinion on this (I think its ok he is "walking" around, but i never want him released), the Headline is just going to insight anger and false notions of what is really going on. I rarely comment on poor reporting, in fact i often think people who do are silly, but this is just awfull awfull journalism.

mental illness is devastating. But in our legal system, there is no argument for holding someone accountable for actions they commit while they are clearly out of their minds.

No Mens Rea (guilty mind), no crime. pure and simple. If you all want this guy to be hung out to dry, you need to change the fundamental blocks on which our legal system is built.

It's great to know Canadians would rather execute the mentally ill then help them with their disease. Kind of when we used to execute women for being "witches", don't you think?

"Greyhound killer Li granted walks"?

Come on, CBC, that headline is completely disingenuous. He has been granted the right to "walk", within the grounds of a secure institution, with close supervision.

And you wonder why people have little faith in the justice system, when you have preposterously inflammatory headlines like that.

To be as blessed as the majority of posters on this story as not to have had any mental illness in their circle of friends of family.

God forbid that day ever happens I hope you are more understanding to them than to this man. I am not asking for forgiveness or for him to be released, but I would hope more people were educated on mental illness.

The man they are allowing to go for 15 min walks supervised by two mental illness specialist is not the same person that brutally murdered that young man on the bus.

We need better preventitive measures for those with a mental illness, so we don't have to wait for another incident like this to happen.

Li didn't kill McLean out of hatred or spite. Li suffers from a mental illness that people are too quick to stigmatize. It isn't right to cage someone for the rest of his life because he had no control over what he was doing. 
Vincent Li is a very, very sick man but he does not deserve to die. He is mentally and was delusional when he murdered Tim McLean. The sad thing about this story is that many people saw this coming and didn't do anything. These things happen, we are human beings with intricate physiologies and brain chemicals that don't always work the way they should. I agree that this incident can spread awareness of mental illness, and maybe we can save ourselves such tragedies in the future. This isn't ancient biblical times where its an "Eye for an Eye." Keep Li alive and learn from him!

Despite the fact that he is sick beyond hope, and should never be allowed to be free, why so much outrage over him being allowed to go outdoors?

Would people vent their rage is their tax money was used to give him aspirin? How about food? How about heat during the winter?

If you enjoy watching him suffer, why not deny him everything that would keep him from suffering? Oh, right, some folks already want that.

Mental illness is a horrible thing. All this vengeful disregard for the humanity of those who suffer from it is a significant obstacle to overcoming it, and reducing it's impact on the eventual victims.

This man was deeply ill and not responsible for his actions. It is appalling to see such a lack of awareness of mental illness in the comments here.
On another front, if we had better awareness and treatment, this tragedy might have been avoided. And yes, I do believe in involuntary treatment for severe cases, especially this one!

Mentally ill is not the same thing as "evil". Someone who did what Mr. Li did but was NOT mentally ill would certainly qualify as evil, but when a person is psychotic (insane) they are not aware of what they are doing. This is not to say he should be set free of course.

Many of you people obviously do not even understand the meaning of the very simple word "Insane". It's as surprising to me as if you didn't understand the simple words "eating" or "sad". It is not a complicated concept people.

Someone please explain why the meaning of the word "insane" is so difficult for so many of you to grasp? Any ideas?

Acknowledging that Mr. Li is not criminally responsible does not mean that he should ever be let out. I'm sorry that he got a bum deal and has to live with schizophrenia, but if your illness is so volatile that you're liable to murder or even just harm people if you don't take your meds or if you don't take them properly, you don't belong outside of a hospital, ever. I'm not saying that being committed should be treated as a punishment, and I think that psychiatric hospitals can do more to improve the quality of life of lifelong patients who are required to be there.

I'm not against Li being allowed to walk in a yard, but it needs to be a setup that can guarantee he's not going anywhere. I know some people think he should rot in a jail cell, but for one thing, even criminals are allowed a certain amount of exercise, and for another thing, you can't punish someone who didn't know what he was doing. All you can do is make sure that he's never, ever given the opportunity to do it again, and the only way you can do that is to commit him for life.

In fact, it makes more sense that those who plead insanity after committing a serious crime ARE committed for life because by the sheer admission that they are uncontrollable, even if only under certain circumstances, implies that they can and are likely to reoffend at some point. Holding someone accountable and sending them to prison, on the other hand, implies that the person could potentially control him or herself and can therefore be rehabilitated with the proper programs. That, at least, is the theory.

I'd be happier seeing Li in a psychiatric facility for life than in prison where he'd likely be out for parole after 15 or 20 years.

AS noted in the story .. " The passes will start at 15 minutes and increase incrementally to a maximum of one hour, twice daily, according to the review board's written decision."

Yes folks... Starts at 30 minutes total for the day. and will work up to TWO hours a day (read the story).

This is what is usually referred to a re-integration as part of a long term treatment plan for a patient. And, there will not be any stipulations on the staffing used to make up the two person escort. It will most likely consist of two Aides and maybe on a flush staff day, a Psych Nurse. There will be no handcuffs, no leg irons or electronic tracking devices. There will simply be two people, who have the option os refusing to be an escort, that are on the grounds with Mr. Li. It will probably be two aides that feel that they have a connection and have been part of his treatment plan.

Now the kicker... As I said, this is re-integration. Why? Because within the next two years, the Drs wil request extended passes off of the grounds with the eventual goal of introduction into a community mental health facility in and around the City of Winnipeg. He will still be under the "security" of the Mental Health System but in an open setting. Within 5 years, he will be transitioned into an independent living situation still being monitored by the Mental Health System.

The courts allowed the Justice System to was their hands of any input into Mr. Li's life by saying that he is criminal insane and therefore not responsible. The Crown's involement in this matter is now just for show, to appease the family and the public.

"Party Leader Hugh McFadyen has called on the government to transfer Li to a fenced-in facility outside the province."

I am actually a fan of Hugh McFadyen, but this statement is indefensible. The government has no legal right to move a prisoner to a different form of facility. Section 11(h) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms explicitly prohibits it. If he doesn't know that he has no business being around laws and if he does he is being simply irresponsible as a politician.

I expect many thumbs down for my comment, as always. But this is not a matter of opinion, it is a fact that the gov't can do nothing besides appoint those that sit on the panel, so thumbing this down shows a profound stupidity.

Why is everyone so against this man getting some fresh air? It's not like he's getting set free.

I know everyone here would like to see bamboo shoots put under his finger nails, but this is Canada, we're better than that. We still recognize he is a human being, a very sick human being, but a human none the less.

Perhaps its worth considering putting him somewhere with a fenced in grounds to appease the lynch mob though.

I'll be the first to say he should never again be released into society, but he's a human (as much as some people like to think he's not because it's easier for them to justify his treatment as an animal) and needs to be treated as one.

I hope our masses of uneducated lynch mobs never get a say in our justice system, or else we'll be living in a country that makes China's justice system look enviable.

HUMAN RIGHTS FOR ALL (even the severely mentally ill)

Allowing Li supervised walks does not pose a risk to anybody. 

The man had a 'major psychotic episode'... he has a severe mental illness. He did not choose to have this illness, it chose him. It was certainly a gruesome and very horrific crime he committed although we cannot change the past, and he did not chose to commit this crime he had no idea what he was doing. He cannot be held accountable if his reality is not normal... schizophrenia is a serious illness...BUT people see mental illnesses in society as nothing...when you think diabetes you think illness...when you think schizophrenia, you think crazy.

People who have severe mental illnesses can get better, these problems are very treatable- I totally agree with the comments made by the health professional...look at John Nash- schizophrenic and won the Nobel prize!

I think it is gruesome what he did, but I also believe in moving forward. Get him all the help he needs. Im very sorry to the family it was simply a very unfortunate incident.

"you're goddamn right.....no MOVEMENT other than what they get in their cell.....and they should not be allowed outside of their cell except to work and eat period........and they should be allowed to TALK with other people either except while in the caferteria during meal times.

BRING BACK THE ALCATRAZ OF OLD.... where punishment was just that....punishment! "


As someone who has worked in Correctional Facilities, I know that this is usually people's first instinct when in comes to criminals.

What you don't understand is that the majority of criminals have been treated like animals their entire life, this type of treatment would be expected and would reinforce their belief they are animals and they should act as such.

We are the educated and socially mature people in these facilities. Would you prefer me to model barbariaism, or empathy (NOT sympathy, there is a difference) maturity and responsibility?

I know I could never work under the conditions of the prison you speak of. I will not allow my morals and ethics to be lowered so that you can get your revenge and get a false notion that 'justice has been served'. I know the vast majority of the correctional officers I've worked with would feel the same.

I now work with young offenders and always tell my clients that you don't have to like someone, but you need to treat EVERYONE with a human-respect. Apparently some commenters on here havn't learned that lesson yet.
The CBC reports says, "But a schizophrenia support group said allowing Li sunshine and fresh air is both humane and an important part of his treatment."

Everyone is so worried about a man with a diagnosed severe mental illness who is being locked up and treated being allowed to walk around supervised for 15 mins. you should all be worried about the Hundreds of others that you walk right past everyday on your way to work that are undiagnosed and ready to snap any day. it could even be you, schizophrenia is something that can slowly just appear in someone you know or yourself. one day you are fine...then next you think everyone is out to get you.

All those calling for Li to never see the light of day or be executed are frothing about revenge....This has no place in the justice system for very good reasons. It results in total chaos.

I UNDERSTAND why people feel this way but no way in hell would I want a society based on revenge.

Its also obvious that many in here don't have a clue what schizophrenia is and what people who have it experience. You CAN'T fake it. Do you honestly think this guy just decapitated this man and ate part of him for giggles???? Give your head a shake. He was having a full blown psychotic episode and believed Tim was the devil, evil and was going to kill him.

Of course he needs to be closely monitored but to feel he shouldn't leave his cell for the rest of his life is just revenge...it has no basis in justice or a just society.

shame on you.
Since many of the comments here are about revenge and punishment of a criminally insane person, why not torture him daily, in the most painful way we can think of?

I am sure that this would be helpful!

What a bunch of...well I am lost for words..to describe the vicious ideas of justice that are written here.

The man had a 'major psychotic episode'... he has a severe mental illness. He did not choose to have this illness, it chose him. It was certainly a gruesome and very horrific crime he committed although we cannot change the past, and he did not chose to commit this crime he had no idea what he was doing. He cannot be held accountable if his reality is not normal... schizophrenia is a serious illness...BUT people see mental illnesses in society as nothing...when you think diabetes you think illness...when you think schizophrenia, you think crazy.

People who have severe mental illnesses can get better, these problems are very treatable- I totally agree with the comments made by the health professional...look at John Nash- schizophrenic and won the Nobel prize!

I think it is gruesome what he did, but I also believe in moving forward. Get him all the help he needs. Im very sorry to the family it was simply a very unfortunate incident.

Ah yes, the crowd who believe the brain is a magical device impervious to malfunction. That it is not in fact an organ of the human body subject to malformation, disease, damage or decay. The heart, lungs, kidneys, spleen, stomach, skin, liver, every other organ of the body can require medication to function normally....but not the brain. Oh no, psychology is a crock. Everybody's brain works perfectly, any aberrant behaviour is due to entirely to weaknes and immorality.

If someone has a heart attack at the wheel of their car and ends up hitting and killing a pedestrian, do we call for execution? Do we revile them and wish evil things upon them? No. But if someone's brain ceases to function and somebody is hurt or killed as a result, well string them up, they are evil.

Mr Li has a disease that makes him a danger to himself and others. As such he needs to be locked up. And he is locked up and will likely be locked up for far longer than any 'sane' murderer ever is. Do we really need to begrudge him the same access to fresh air and sunshine we give to Paul Bernardo and Clifford Olsen?

If people are really so concerned about public safety, instead of worrying about Mr Li who will never be a threat to society again, why don't you encourage your MPs and MLAs to do something about the thousands of Lis in waiting, the schizophrenics walking our streets unmedicated and unmonitored because the medical system doesn't have the funds to properly treat them? That is where the real risk lies...not to mention the horrors these people have to live with inside their heads every day of their lives.

Rather than seeking justice through vengeance, why not seek to prevent tragedy in the first place, and perhaps enrich some lives in the process? Just not fun enough i guess.

My gawd you people are sick. No question that what happened to Tim McLean was a complete and utter tragedy; but have you no appreciation for the organic nature of schizophrenia? This isnt depression, anxiety, or some other relatively minor psychological condition where yes there are some stressors in your life but you are by an large in control of your cognition and actions. We're talking about the most serious disease of the brain known to humans. It biochemically causes people to see, hear and (most importantly) believe things that aren't there, or arent untrue. It is a verifiable mental disease that, in its most sever manifestation, deprives you of anything resembling self control.

Its a completely fair point to make that someone who does what Vincent Li did should never be released into society again for our own protection; and I don't begrudge anyone who believes that. I'm pretty skeptical that he should ever be released into society. But to punish him for the sake of punishing him and in the worst possible way at that (by denying him sunlight and exercise) is just cruel and inhumane. Holding Li morally responsible for his actions and punishing him is not unlike blaming someone for having leukemia. It is totally ridiculous.

He is guilty, if you can call it that, of being mentally ill and that's all. This is not about punishment.

This man was not criminally responsible for what he did, he doesn't deserve to be punished. The courts got it right.

Bad things often happen without there being someone to take revenge against. This is one of those cases.

Anyone who doesn't understand the distinction here has obviously had little experience with mental illness.

I believe that when things happen in society that are really difficult for folks to face, it is simplicity that typically governs our response to the difficult issue.

It is clearly acceptable for society to view this act as a horrible occurance. Having such emotive responses to the crime and the lives that it has affected, affirms our humanity and our commitment to society.

What I have noticed in this thread is that sentiments which affirm humanity and society can often lead to facistic reactionism. I do not deny the right for all of us to be sickened by the crime (for which I am one of many), but I believe that it is important to our sentiment of humanity and society, not to respond in a way similar to authoritarian regimes' relationship with marginalized groups in society (mentally ill, handicaped, and disabilities).

The point is this: We as a society need to hold steadfast to our commitment to humanity and despite our impulse toward reactionary thoughts. Otherwise, we might as well accept that we (as society) are alright with killing off our own failures. (Sounds a little like something that happened in the late 1930's?)

What is wrong with some of you people? He should be put to death? Or kept in a small cage for the rest of his life?

"Even though I'm no better than a beast, don't I have the right to live?"

Yes, he should stay in custody and should not be allowed freedom. Yes, he committed a horrible crime and should pay for it. Yes, he should not be allowed contact with society. But come on, you don't think he should be allowed to walk around outside under the sun for 15 minutes a day? I don't care who you are or what you did, every living thing has the right to breath fresh air, even if only for a short moment. You cannot cure suffering with more suffering, and by refusing to treat this man as a human you show yourself to be more like him than different. No amount of punishment will change what happened, and its only through compassion that anything in this world will get better.

This is a very sick man. He is hardly getting a free ride here. He is, essentially, a prisoner, both physically, and mentally. He didn't ask for the disease he has. It is a horrible, horrible disease. Small walks outside while being supervised makes sense for his health and well-being, and for his progress.

Shame on cbc.ca for their sensationalist headline. Sure, 'Greyhound killer Li granted walks' is techincally accurate, but it makes it sound like the guy 'got off' when in reality all that happens is that he's allowed outside WITH A GUARD for 15 minutes at a time. It changes nothing about the fact that he is in a mental institution, where he needs to be.

People saying that this guy needs to be treated like a criminal under the types of laws they have in Texas are simply out to lunch. He is a very sick individual and needs medical help - help which he is now getting. The situation was tragic but the system is working here. The walks were requested by his doctors and are likely part of his treatment plan.

Mental illness is an explanation, not an excuse.
Through therapy, medication or simple self-control, you too can rid yourself of the habit of excusing your behaviour with mental illness.

you clearly don't understand the foundations of our criminal law. A person does not only have to commit the crime (Actus reus) but has to have the intent of doing so or a "guily mind" (Mens rea) in order to be found criminally culpable. Obviously, a severe psychotic illness such as schizophrenia incapacitates its victim of clear rational thinking that would be expected from any other individual. Do you seriously wish to condemn a man who, according to our best evidence, had literally no control over his thoughts and actions?
I believe that Mr Li should be treated in as humane a manner as possible.

Where I feel that the "system" could use some improvement is in the treatment and support of the family members who bear the brunt of the effects of this brutal event.

I truly hope that the family is treated as victims as well and offered any and all assistance necessary to help them achieve some peace and closure with this sad event.

I do not know if it is possible to ever get over something like this; however, I do hope that support for the family is available and continues.

One thing I have never heard about regarding this sad tragedy is the medication Mr. Li was perscribed (if any) and why he was released from the Psychiatric Hospital in Ponoka Alberta mere hours before this event occured. I feel that the public has not been informed about the extent that the system let Mr. Li down, and the unfortunate cost to the family and society at large which result from allowing Mr. Li to walk away from the Alberta Hospital.

To all those against granting Li privileges on some kind of moral grounds:

Don't you get it? He's mentally ill. Are you even sure that he would understand punishment? So you want the caretakers at the institution where he is being held to take part in some kind of periodic or continuous, ritual sadism against someone who is mentally incompetent so that you and the family of the man he murdered will feel better?

Which part of this hypothesis makes sense?

I think supervised walks outside are fine. Actually, I'm a little surprised he didn't already have supervised walks outside. Even hardened criminals without severe mental illnesses should be getting that much - exercise yards, that sort of thing.

It's sad that so many people are against a person being supervised and out-of-doors. It's not like they are going to let him wander the streets. It's SUPERVISED walks inside a FENCED area. That's not actually controversial. That's not giving him more rights than he deserves.

I'd like to see him living in a facility for the rest of his life, because someone who's had a psychotic break that serious will never be trusted by the public at large, and being mistrusted is (I'm guessing) probably not conducive to good behaviour in someone who needs medication to behave like a normal person, but supervised walks are OK.
I continue to be dismayed that the victims of crime and the families of victims can only see punishment and retribution as routes to closure. It seems to me to be a recipe for continued heartache and grief to look for release from the punishment of another, particularly where that other person has been found not criminally responsible by reason of a mental illness for which he is being treated.

No amount of punishment can restore Ms. deDelley's son to her. But instead of proclaiming, "lock him up and throw away the key!" perhaps her son's memory might be better served by ensuring that Provinces are held to account for the risk that they put all citizens in by cutting back on services for people with mental illness.

Her anger should be directed at the Minister of Health--if Mr. Li's illness had been recognized, if the facilities had been in place to provide him with treatment, and if the social supports had existed to allow him to pursue treatment without the stigma of being labelled "mentally ill" then perhaps her son might still be alive today.

Don't punish Mr. Li for being ill, rather, hold the government accountable for the consequences of their parsimony.
I somehow think there is little hope for humanity when I see far too many narrow-minded, bigoted people who comment in this forum.

The more appropriate headline from the Globe and Mail: "Man who beheaded fellow bus passenger wins right to supervised walks"

Sure beats the original CBC headline for this piece: "Greyhound Killer Li Walking.
Judging by the way these comments are going...the only way to appease them is to get 'rid' of the mentally ill from our society. We will weed out those that we see deemed fit for society. It's disgusting...I thought we were above that...Revenge and ignorance is truly alive on this thread.

FOCUS on CURING the mental illnesses.

My gawd you people are sick. No question that what happened to Tim McLean was a complete and utter tragedy; but have you no appreciation for the organic nature of schizophrenia? This isnt depression, anxiety, or some other relatively minor psychological condition where yes there are some stressors in your life but you are by an large in control of your cognition and actions.

Uhmmmm really??? Some people with anxiety can't even leave their house, depressed people commit suicide for a reason, because they're depressed! A mental illness is a mental illness, some aren't worse or better than others to have.

That being said, a mental illness is not an excuse when you do something as horrible as what Li did. He may not have known what he was doing, but he still did it!! Isn't that worse then being totally aware of what you are doing?? You can learn from your mistakes, he never will!! Anyone who kills another human being in cold blood is not right in the head, mental illness or not. Decent, regular human beings don't go around cutting off peoples head, he doesnt deserve to be treated like one.

Most of these comments just prove people's ignorance about mental illness, and the forensic hospital system. These doctors have to study for well over 12 years to do this, people - maybe they know something you don't???

And for those of you who think being confined to a psych ward is a free ride, you clearly are lucky enough to never have had to visit one.

How about informing yourselves before judging? How refreshing would that be.

The public is only interested in revenge and vengeance on the mentally ill. 

Holy! Judging by this blog only, the majority of Canadians appears to be blood thirsty, vengeful or stupid; and most probably all of the aforementioned. I'm also willing to put some money down that this majority also believes in a deity of some sort

Li should not be punished or deprived for actions which were out of his control. 

I'm not sure whether it's me you're yelling at but chances are you are so I'll respond. That's right; in this case, there IS no one to blame. A disease was responsible, period.

"Should we do the same with child molesters,serial murders,etc. They all have chemical inbalances in the brain which make them do the things they do if so why are they all not in mental inst. instead of jails???"

Most mental illnesses don't rob people of their sense of right and wrong or their grasp on reality. I have no sympathy for child molesters or sociopathic killers and believe they deserve at least as severe penalties as your average joe, if not more since neither type is treatable and the risk of re-offending is higher. (I rather doubt that child molesters have a chemical imbalance, by the way.)

See, you're focusing on the crime and not the disease. It's the nature of the disease at the time a crime is committed that determines whether the accused is eligible for a "not criminally responsible" defense. Very few mental illnesses qualify but schizophrenia is one that does if it's severe enough.
the blame here lays in the laws that prevent a person with serious mental illness from being committed involuntarily unless they have committed a crime. There were warning signs and people knew he needed help but couldn't get it for him. Part of the reason for that is the stigma associated with mental illness that discourages people who suffer from it to acknowledge it. An other part is that the government would like to avoid paying for mental health care and it is not easily accessible to those who do want it. The other part is that when they put laws in place to protect people who were capable of functioning in society from being committed against their will (often for abusive reasons such as family wanting to gain control of estate), they did not fully consider people who would become dangerous before things escalated to a point where they could legally be committed involuntarily.

Laws need to be changed so that if numerous people in a person's family and personal life feel they need help a) help is easily accessible for those who want it and b) there is a process in place to force a person to undergo diagnosis and treatment if it's deemed by enough people that it's necessary for their safety or the safety of others. There would have to be safeguards in place to assure that this isn't abused and that patients preferences are not completely disregarded, but there has to be a way to get help to protect those who need it and the people around them.
I pretty much agree with everything you said. I once had reason to check out the involuntary commitment law online and it really struck me how they were written very carefully to safeguard the rights and dignity of a person who might be incompetent. I'm no lawyer so I don't know if they can change it to make it easier to commit someone without violating their Charter rights.

I totally agree that mental health care is hard to come by. Competent mental health care is even harder. Waiting lists for psychiatrists can be months or years long. I've heard that at least one is doing assessments on patients and then passing the less serious cases off to psychologists for treatment simply because they don't have the time to treat everyone seeking help. What are low income people to do if they can't afford a psychologist's hourly rate? Apparently, they are left to suffer as does everyone around them. It's only when their illnesses progress to the point where they can be committed - or, as in Li's case, where they commit a crime - that they can finally receive the help they need.

As for the blame factor, I do have to wonder what the circumstances were that led to Li leaving the hospital in Ontario; i.e., why they didn't hold him involuntarily. A report by Dan Lett (I believe) said the facts were murky.
There are different levels of mental illness. Child molesters and serial killers generally are fully aware of what they are doing, and it gives them a thrill and a joy. However, schizophrenia involves many things happening to the brain, in this case it was a psychotic episode where he was overcome with voices telling him to kill Tim. Both types of people are normal in a sense. Your average person gets joys out of things such as helping others, working out, doing art, etc. Whereas, your average child molester or serial killer may be generally normal in many other aspects, but they get their joys out of killing or molesting. Usually there are signs of this in some other characteristics of theirs, but you get my point. Schizophrenic patients vary, but often they can be relatively normal, then when an episode hits they are a completely different person. This seems to be the case here. Therefore, a completely normal person who is not aware of what they are doing, and are unable to control their brain (because unlike child molesters and serial killers, it's not an impulse it's their brain doing something without their control) cannot technically be held criminally responsible. That's not to say they should be let free, but you should understand the difference here. Being that he is not in the same class as child molesters and serial killers, he should be allowed highly supervised walks around a secure yard, while being forced to take his medication.

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