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This article was published 23/2/2015 (2400 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Vince Li, the mentally ill man found not criminally responsible for a random killing on board a Greyhound bus, could soon be visiting Winnipeg without supervision.
Li appeared Monday before the provincial review board for his annual hearing. His treatment team made two major recommendations.
Under their proposal, Li would be allowed to leave the Selkirk Mental Health Centre and move to Winnipeg, where he would temporarily live at the Health Sciences Centre in their locked PX3 ward.
However, the treatment team is suggesting Li then be granted unsupervised passes in Winnipeg, eventually transitioning to a placement in a high-security group home facility in the city.
"There’s no reason not to endorse these recommendations," defence lawyer Alan Libman told the hearing.
The review board will make their decision within a week.
The Crown is not opposed to what is being recommended, but they cautioned that perhaps things were moving too quickly. Prosecutor Colleen McDuff suggested that maybe Li should only be given supervised passes in Winnipeg once he moves to the city.
Two doctors who have worked extensively with Li told the board he is an extremely low risk to re-offend, knows the importance of taking his medication and has not suffered any hallucinations for more than a year. He would continue to be supervised while taking his medications for schizophrenia.
Last year, Li was granted several freedoms which doctors say have gone smoothly. They include being given unescorted passes into the city of Selkirk. Li always carries a cell phone with him and checks in with hospital staff every 30 minutes. There have been no reported incidents.
As well, Li has done several supervised trips into Winnipeg, Lockport and area beaches.
Dr. Steven Kremer said Li ultimately wishes to attend community college in Winnipeg to build on a computer sciences degree he has from China.
"He has tolerated the increases in his liberty pretty well," said Kremer.
Kremer said Li is always polite with staff and other patients, has shown "no evidence of any manipulative behaviour" and has demonstrated insight into his actions.
"He has expressed feelings of regret and remorse," he said.
Li has been described as a "model patient" who no longer suffers from the type of mental illness that triggered the July 2008 attack near Portage la Prairie.
Li was found not criminally responsible for the beheading of Tim McLean on a Greyhound bus near Portage. A judge found Li suffered hallucinations from untreated schizophrenia at the time of the unprovoked attack and ordered him held at the Selkirk centre.
McLean's family has been a vocal critic of Li's relaxed freedoms and has pushed for tougher federal legislation. McLean's mom, Carol de Delley, said she believes mentally ill killers such as Li must be held indefinitely in a hospital. She did not attend Monday’s hearing, although other family members did.
The federal government introduced Bill C-54, the Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act, in 2013 in response to Li's case. The bill would create a new category of high-risk offenders who can't be considered for release until a court agrees to revoke the designation.
They would not have a review of their status for three years, would not be given unescorted passes and would only get escorted passes under narrow circumstances.
Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.