Greyhound beheader Vince Li, AKA “Will Baker” released without conditions

Remembering Tim McLean, killed on a Greyhound bus by Vince Li, AKA Will Baker. Click for NP.

Remembering Tim McLean, killed on a Greyhound bus by Vince Li, AKA Will Baker. Click for NP.

Remember the name Will Baker everyone because he is the Greyhound bus beheader, previously known as Vince Li, who has just been released from custody without any conditions whatsoever.

How could that happen? It could happen because Li/Baker was found “not criminally responsible“(NCR) for beheading Tim McLean on a Greyhound bus in July 2008 at Portage La Prairie, Manitoba. See McLean in photo to the left.

And, it is that “NCR” finding that is the problem because the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 1999 that anyone found not criminally responsible could be released without conditions “if” they were not deemed dangerous by a Review Board.

Well, the Manitoba Criminal Code Review Board granted Li/Baker that release yesterday.

Why did that Review Board come to such a conclusion? Because, the Global News link indicates, his doctor, Jeffrey Waldman, “…told the board earlier this week that he is confident Baker will remain on his medication and will continue to work with his treatment team if released.”

Waldman also  “…testified that Baker knows it’s the medication that keeps his illness at bay.” Think about that. “It’s the medication that keeps his illness at bay.”

Yes, I have compassion for people with mental illness. In fact, I am a former special needs counsellor and therapist who helped many people with mental difficulties manage their symptoms and achieve success in life — but through learning and cognitive strategies, not medication.

Which causes me to wonder what Li/Baker will do with his time on his own. Will he stay in close touch with his health team? Will he have a job or meaningful activities? And, what will happen when and if he travels to China, which allegedly is his long term plan? Will he, for example, continue to have access to his medication in China? Or, once away from his team, will he start hearing voices again?

Anyway, regardless of a person’s mental illness, we have to stop making excuses for taking the life of another. Killing someone has consequences, or should have consequences. In the past, before medications became available, anyone found “NCR” for murder had to be hospitalized for life. At the very least, should Li/Baker not have been given the condition that taking his medication had to be supervised.

What about the victim in this case? Has the justice system forgotten him? The horrible reality is that McLean, Li/Baker’s victim is never coming back to his family. Plus, the horror that young man must have experienced is unimaginable. Killed in cold blood. Decapitated as he sat quietly in his Greyhound bus seat.

The crux of the matter is that the Manitoba Criminal Review Board has allowed Vince Li/Will Baker, who was found “NCR” for killing McLean in cold blood, to be released without any conditions even though he requires medication to maintain equilibrium. They also allowed Vince Li to use the anonymous name Will Baker, presumably so he won’t be discriminated against.

Truly, we live in an upside down world when the rights of people like Li/Baker are prioritized over the safety and well being of the general public.

 

 

 

 

Continuing media “witch hunt” re Mike Duffy & former PM Harper

If you want to see what a witch hunt looks like, take a look at this Google search page. I found it by typing in the words “Mike Duffy found not guilty but ….” There are 261,000 entries that question that outcome in one way or another!

What most of them allege is that: (1) The court was wrong because______ (fill in the blank for a reason); (2) Being found not guilty not the same as being innocent; and (3) Former PM Stephen Harper was really to blame.

Truly, Mr. Harper would have had to have superhuman abilities to do what so many accuse him of knowing and doing. I mean, can any Prime Minister be everywhere and know everything within his PMO, caucus and government departments?

No, of course he can’t. Which is precisely why no one ever blamed former Liberal PM Jean Chretien or any staffers in his PMO, for the Sponsorship Scandal.

Then, there is the principle of the “Presumption of Innocence” — as my last post discussed. Yet, in reading the media rebuttals to Duffy’s acquittal, it is rarely even mentioned. It is as though media and public opinion is now all that really matters.

In that regard, there was the Andrew Coyne column headline: When not criminal does not equal innocent.  Coyne spends his entire column articulating why he feels the judge’s ruling didn’t really get to the issues. And, he does a good job of it, even if I disagree with most of what he says. However, it is his last sentence that I find most shocking.

“… in the end we are left with the same dilemma as when we started. A sitting legislator was paid a large sum of money under the table by the prime minister’s chief of staff to collaborate in deceiving the public about a matter embarrassing to the government, a matter that was then being investigated by the legislature.

If that is not illegal, it bloody well should be.

Wow! As a former academic (in education and psychology) I can assume that the Coyne column will be used as a “debate topic” in law classes for years to come.

Anyway, I can’t help wonder exactly what would have had to happen for many of the 261,000 in the Google search I mentioned at the start of this post to believe justice had been done in the Duffy trial?

Duffy going to jail? Certain PMO staffers going to jail? Or, perhaps even former PM Harper going to jail?

I mean, look at all the allegations against the former PM and his PMO over the last three years and isn’t that what this media driven witch hunt has really been about?