NEWS

Vince Li’s doctors seek Winnipeg visitation privileges

05/13/2013 07:22 EDT | Updated 07/13/2013 05:12 EDT
A medical treatment team is requesting the man who beheaded a fellow passenger on a Greyhound bus in 2008 receive supervised visits to Winnipeg and other locations.

Vince Li appeared before the Criminal Code Review Board on Monday for his annual review.

He was found not criminally responsible for beheading 22-year-old Tim McLean on a bus in July 2008.

McLean was listening to music with his eyes closed when Li attacked him. Frightened passengers fled the bus.

The incident shocked the province and country at the time, and Li was later found not criminally responsible for McLean's death.

Li suffers from schizophrenia and has been living at the Selkirk Mental Health Centre since the incident.

He was previously granted leave from the Selkirk Mental Health Centre on short, escorted outings. He was able to visit the city of Selkirk with a staff member and a security guard.

Two of Li's doctors attended the hearing Monday afternoon and answered questions from the review board.

Dr. Steven Kremer told the panel all of Li’s outings had gone well, and Li had not had any hallucinations for well over a year.

"Mr. Li is invested in working and co-operating with the treatment team," said Kremer.

Kremer said Li scored very low on several tests for risk of violence, adding there was no evidence Li would try to escape.

“I don’t think he will have further improvement beyond the great improvement he’s made,” Kremer told the board.

Kremer explained the security detail currently in place would go with Li on visits to Lockport and Winnipeg, and the escort was in part to protect Li from the public.

"For Mr. Li's own security, we recommend this extra level of security during visits outside the facility," said Kremer.

He added while there have not been specific threats against Li, there have been a number of hostile calls to the mental health centre about the case.

If Kremer’s requests are granted, Li would be able to have supervised visits to Winnipeg and Lockport and be unsupervised while at Selkirk Mental Health Centre.

Crown doesn’t oppose new freedoms

The Crown did not oppose expanding the list of places Li could visit when he was away from the centre, but Crown counsel Susan Helenchilde expressed concerns about the ratio of staff to patients on the visits.

Li’s treatment team proposed more than one patient be allowed on the trips, without adding extra security or mental health staff.

Helenchilde said she was also concerned about a request to change some of the protocols around Li’s custody agreement that was made without notifying the review board.

Helenchilde reminded the board of the magnitude of the attack on McLean, calling it one of the most “macabre crimes” ever committed in Manitoba. She added it was “one of the most stunningly atrocious crimes ever seen in this community.”

Victim’s mother outraged

Carol de Delley, the mother of the man Li killed, spoke to the media after the hearing.

She said she was shocked by the requests.

“I don’t think that this should even be happening. I don’t think that unsupervised passes on grounds that are unfenced should be happening,” she said.

“I feel sick right now — physically, nauseously feel ill because I feel very helpless.”

Each year, de Delley attends the hearings. She said she’s not happy with how they’ve progressed.

“How does it feel to come here every Mother’s Day? It sucks,” she said.

De Delley has been lobbying against the not-criminally-responsible designation for years.

“The whole reason I am doing any of this is so another mom doesn’t have to stand here and do it,” she said.

“I had the assumption that before all of this happened that we all had basic human rights. So how come Timothy’s aren’t being considered here?”

The review board will make its decision next week.

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