The mother of Tim McLean, the man who was beheaded and cannibalized on a Greyhound bus, is speaking out about the decision to grant an absolute discharge to the man who committed the violent crime.
Carol de Delley says it’s “disturbing” that Vince Li – the man found not criminally responsible for beheading McLean, 22, in 2008 – has been given complete freedom.
“It’s a pretty hard blow to take. That he has that opportunity is disturbing to me,” de Delley told AM900 host Roy Green. “I think he has the potential to be the most dangerous person. He has proven that already.”
LISTEN: Carol de Delley speaks on the Roy Green show. (Interview begins at 21:26)
Li – who legally changed his name to Will Baker – was found not criminally responsible in McLean’s killing due to schizophrenia. On Friday, the Manitoba Criminal Code Review Board ordered Li’s absolute discharge saying he does not pose a significant safety threat.
Li started living on his own in a Winnipeg apartment last November but was still subject to rules and nightly monitoring to ensure he took his medication. The board’s decision also means he will no longer be monitored to ensure he takes his medication.
“The treatment team and psychiatrists all say that he understands and he promises to take his medication and that’s good enough for them,” de Delley said. “It’s not good enough for me. Not in the little tiniest bit.”
Interim Conservative party leader Rona Ambrose also criticized the decision to release Li calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to put the “rights of victims before the rights of criminals.”
“On the evening of July 30, 2008, Li boarded a Greyhound bus and beheaded 22-year-old Tim McLean. But now Li is a free man and he’s even legally changed his name to Will Baker. He’ll be living not too far away from Tim McLean’s mother,” Ambrose said in the post.
“I think I speak for a lot of Canadians when I say this doesn’t seem right.
Li’s doctors have described him as a model patient who had not been treated for schizophrenia at the time of his attack. After his arrest and placement at the hospital, he responded well to medication and understood that he must continue to take it to keep his illness at bay, they said.
WATCH: Justice minister says there will be ‘broad review’ of justice system following discharge of Vince Li
According to a 1999 ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada, a review board must order an absolute discharge if a person doesn’t pose a significant threat to public safety.
Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould’s office told the Canadian Press in an email that people who have been found not criminally responsible are in provincial custody, and decisions regarding their release are made by provincial review boards.
However, for McLean’s family the pain and suffering continues.
“If I had my way he would be staying in an institution that could ensure he keeps taking that medicine,” de Delley said. “If he is going to be living amongst us that is the least that should happen. But he is released. No conditions. He is free as a bird.”
Full report from Manitoba’s Criminal Code Review Board:
*With files from the Canadian Press