Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/2/2015 (1792 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
OTTAWA – Manitoba senior federal cabinet minister Shelly Glover expressed dismay late Monday at the idea the mentally ill man who beheaded a man on a bus almost seven years ago may soon be released to live in a group home in Winnipeg.
Glover released a statement several hours after Li’s treatment team at the Selkirk Mental Health Centre recommended to a provincial review board looking at Li’s case, that he be allowed to move first to Winnipeg’s Health Science Centre’s locked mental health ward and be given unescorted passes to go out into the city. Eventually they say he should move to a high-security group home in Winnipeg.
"Our government stands firmly by our legislative changes through the Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act and points out that this is exactly why we made them," Glover said. "Our Government has worked hard to ensure that those who break the law are held accountable for their actions; that penalties match the severity of crimes committed; and that the rights of victims come before the rights of criminals. It is unacceptable that dangerous and violent offenders are released into our communities, when they pose a threat to society. We made changes to the Not Criminally Responsible Act to ensure that dangerous offenders at risk of re-offending are kept behind bars, where they belong."
The Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act took effect last June, and requires someone found to be not criminally responsible for a criminal act can be designated by a court as high-risk to reoffend. If this designation is given, the person can’t be released from custody until a review board has a court revoke that designation.
The law also allows to extend the length of time between review board hearings from one year to up to three, and can deny unescorted passes to the person.
Victims of the person must also be informed when the NCR person is released and their living arrangements.
Li, who has been in treatment for seven years, will not be subjected to the provisions of the new law. When he was declared NCR, there was no legislative requirement to designate him as "high risk." As a result, there is no legal requirement right now for him to return to court to have that label revoked.
Last year when Li was first granted unescorted trips into Selkirk by the review board, Glover raged at the province and demanded an appeal. The province in turn accused her of trying to score political points on a serious issue of public safety.
Li was granted the unescorted trips and the review panel was told Monday they went smoothly.
Mental health advocates argue politicians are using mentally ill people as pawns to win votes but ignore the fact people found not criminally responsible are very unlikely to reoffend when they are given proper treatment and supervision.
Li killed Tim McLean in 2008 during a schizophrenic episode on a bus travelling between Edmonton and Winnipeg. He was found to be not criminally responsible and has been in the Selkirk Mental Health Centre ever since.
—with files from Mike McIntyre
Updated on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 8:34 AM CST: Corrects spelling of McLean
9:42 AM: Corrects that there is no legal requirement right now for Li to return to court
11:51 AM: Corrects typo