05/16/2012 11:00 EDT | Updated 07/16/2012 05:12 EDT

Vince Li Beheading Case May Be Leading Ottawa To Change Law To Put Public Safety Ahead Of Individual Rights


UPDATE: A man who beheaded and cannibalized a fellow passenger on a Greyhound bus in Manitoba has won his bid to leave the grounds of the mental hospital where he is being kept.

A Criminal Code review board has ruled that Vince Li's treatment team may grant him short escorted trips into Selkirk.

The review board says the passes will start at 30 minutes and increase incrementally to a maximum of full days.

The board also says the passes should only be granted if Li's treatment team believes his condition is stable and that it would be "appropriate and safe for him to leave the locked ward."

Li will have to be escorted at all times by a staff member and a security officer.

WINNIPEG - Ottawa is reviewing the Criminal Code with an eye to putting public safety ahead of individual rights in cases involving people found not criminally responsible for their actions.

Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson did not mention Vince Li in connection with the review, the Winnipeg Free Press reported Wednesday in a report out of Ottawa.

But word of the review comes just two days after Li’s psychiatrist asked a review board to let the man — who made international headlines for beheading another man on a Greyhound bus — out of a Manitoba mental hospital for supervised visits.

Li was found not criminally responsible for the July 2008 killing of Tim McLean because Li was suffering hallucinations due to untreated schizophrenia.

Nicholson says Canadians have expressed concerns about the risks posed by people who are found to be not criminally responsible.

He says he has told his officials to examine the law to identify any necessary changes to support the view that public safety must come first.

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