The lawyer representing the family of the man beheaded on a Greyhound bus doesn’t believe the killer will receive an absolute discharge.
Vince Li, who now goes by the name Will Baker, repeatedly stabbed Tim McLean, a fellow passenger on the bus, in July 2008 near Portage La Prairie.
Baker beheaded the body before he was arrested. He was found to be not criminally responsible due to a mental illness, suffering from schizophrenia.
Now, Baker is expected to ask for an absolute discharge at review board hearing set for Monday.
“I’ve practiced law for over 40 years and I would be astounded if that happened,” Jay Prober, the lawyer representing the McLean family, told the Gormley Show Wednesday.
“It would be a travesty of justice if he were released into the community without any restrictions whatsoever.”
Baker was granted the right to live on his own at his last review board hearing, but is subject to monitoring and random drug tests.
Under an absolute discharge, no conditions are placed on an individual following release. The discharge would also be cleared from Baker’s criminal record after one year.
Prober said there are two provisions in the criminal code that relate to absolute discharges: if it’s an adult’s first offence for a minor crime, such as shoplifting – and from the review board.
“It has to be an indication that he will cause no significant problems, he poses no risk to public safety,” Prober said.
The lawyer explained public safety means no risk to physical harm and no risk of any psychological harm.
Prober argues Li’s release would cause “tremendous” psychological harm to the family of McLean and others as well.
“They’ve got no closure. Can you imagine this comes up every year? They have no closure and this was an absolutely horrendous crime, probably one of the worst crimes in Canadian history,” he said.
Prober believes it is important Baker remains monitored to ensure he continues to take his medication.
Due to Baker changing his name, Prober said it will be important if he is granted the discharge, that the community where he chooses to live is made aware.
Prober will not be speaking on behalf of the family at Monday’s hearing and said the Attorney General’s Department will have a spokesperson present who will be opposing the absolute discharge.