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Assessment offends family

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Tim McLean's mother, Carol deDelley, said Tuesday she found it offensive a city psychiatrist described her son's killer as a decent man who was almost as much a victim as her dead son.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 04/03/2009 (5080 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Tim McLean’s mother, Carol deDelley, said Tuesday she found it offensive a city psychiatrist described her son’s killer as a decent man who was almost as much a victim as her dead son.

DeDelley spoke to reporters briefly outside the courthouse after the first day Vincent Li’s trial for McLean’s mutilation-slaying last July on a Greyhound bus outside Portage la Prairie.

Dr. Stanley Yaren, a psychiatrist, testified Li was a "decent person" who respected authority and the value of hard work.

MIKE APORIUS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Family and friends accompany Carol deDelley (above, third from right), Tim McLean�s mother, from the courthouse after Tuesday�s hearing. Brenda Lewis, a friend of the McLean family, (left) speaks to the media and said listening to accused killer Vincent Li say �not guilty� was the worst part of the hearing.

Yaren said Li has made significant strides since being hospitalized after his arrest and could one day function again in the community — something Yaren admits doesn’t sit well with many people, including McLean’s family.

"I completely understand the need for a sense of justice, of retribution," Yaren told Court of Queen’s Bench Justice John Scurfield.

"But (Li) is as much of a victim of this horrible illness… as Mr. McLean is a victim. Don’t hate the person. Hate the illness."

But deDelley said she didn’t see Li as a victim.

"I hate the illness, but that doesn’t mean I forgive the man," she said.

She also said she found it difficult being in court hearing the details of her son’s death being made public for the world to read.

But she added she was compelled to be in court so her son’s death is not in vain.

"I’ve got to say what I think needs to be said. If I just stay at home. I’m just accepting this for the way that it is."

DeDelley was joined by about a dozen family and friends, many wearing white T-shirts and buttons emblazoned with McLean’s picture.

Brenda Lewis, a friend of the McLean family, urged Canadians to support deDelley and her push to create a law so that anyone found not criminally responsible for a crime would still serve time behind bars, a campaign deDelley has dubbed Tim’s Law.

"Canadians are passive," Lewis said.

"I urge every Canadian to get on their soapboxes. This man will be let out in the country somewhere. He’ll be your neighbour… that’s not good.

"You take a life, you get life."

Lewis said the toughest part of the court case so far was at the beginning.

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

"The worst was when he said ‘not guilty.’ You are guilty."

DeDelley also said she found those two words uttered by Li chilling.

"Not guilty means ‘I didn’t do it.’ There’s no question he didn’t do it."

Yaren, director of forensic psychiatry for both the province and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, also said Li has a strong chance to recover from a mental disorder and under proper treatment could one day function again in the community.

DeDelley said Li must be locked up for the rest of his life.

"What struck me in my mind was even if he’s medicated he’s at risk of relapsing," she said. "To me that means never free."

She also said she found it upsetting that even though Li had documented episodes of psychotic behaviour dating back to 2003, and was briefly hospitalized in Ontario, there was no follow-up. He was also allowed to leave Canada for his native China and return.

She said Canadian authorities must do a better job of tracking mental health patients so that they do not put Canadians at risk.

bruce.owen@freepress.mb.ca
kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

 

Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason
Reporter

Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.

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