Bus attack cannibal won't go to jail, says judge
Friday 06 March 2009
A man who beheaded and ate parts of a fellow bus passenger will not go to prison after a Canadian judge ruled that he was not criminally responsible.
Vince Li will instead be treated in a mental institution following the decision in Winnipeg, Manitoba, by Justice John Scurfield, who said the attack was "barbaric" but "strongly suggestive of a mental disorder".
"He did not appreciate the actions he committed were morally wrong," the judge added.
But the family of victim Tim McLean said Li had got away with murder and vowed to fight to change the law allowing people found not criminally responsible to be released into the community once deemed well, without serving a minimum jail sentence.
"A crime was still committed here, a murder still occurred," said Carol deDelley, Mr McLean's mother. "There was nobody else on that bus holding a knife, slicing up my child."
Chinese immigrant Li stabbed carnival worker Mr McLean, 22, dozens of times and dismembered his body on a Greyhound bus last July as horrified passengers fled.
Both the prosecution and the defence agreed Li could not be held responsible because he had schizophrenia and believed God wanted him to kill Mr McLean because the young man was evil.
Li will be institutionalised without a criminal record and reassessed every year by a mental health review board to determine if he is fit for release.
But Ms DeDelley described that as ridiculous and said Li should be locked up for the rest of his life.
Li, 40, who became a Canadian citizen in 2005, admitted killing Mr McLean but pleaded not guilty.
Witnesses said Li launched the sickening attack on Mr McLean as their bus travelled at night along a desolate stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway.
Passengers fled and stood outside as Li stabbed Mr McLean dozens of times and beheaded and mutilated his body. Finding himself locked inside the bus, Li finally escaped through a window and was arrested.
A police report said an officer at the scene saw the attacker hacking off pieces of the body and eating them.
Li then apologised and pleaded with police to kill him.
Police said Mr McLean's body parts were found throughout the bus in plastic bags, and the victim's ear, nose and tongue were found in Li's pocket.
A psychiatrist called by the prosecution said Li cut up Mr McLean's body because he believed that he would come back to life and take revenge.
After the trial, government prosecutor Joyce Dalmyn said the mentally ill should be treated, not convicted, when they did not know what they did was wrong.
Li's lawyer, Alan Libman, said: "Mr Li advised me after court that he's going to work with his treatment team because it's his desire to get better.
This article is taken from The Belfast Telegraph
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