The Canadian man responsible for killing, beheading and cannibalizing another Greyhound bus passenger received an absolute discharge Friday. The incident, which occurred on July 30, 2008 on a Manitoba road, attracted world media attention and notoriety.
Will Baker, who has legally changed his name from Vince Li, spent most of the last nine years in a psychiatric institution and has been in a Winnipeg apartment since November 2016, receiving job training and awaiting a decision on his fate.
Manitoba’s Criminal Code Review Board ruled that Baker was no longer a “significant threat” to public safety.
He had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and was declared not criminally responsible at his trial for the murder of Tim McLean.
“The Review Board has taken into account the safety of the public, which is the paramount consideration, the present mental condition of Mr. Baker and his reintegration into society and his other needs,” the Board wrote in its decision.
The mother of Tim McLean, Carol de Delley, was adamant that Baker should not be released back into society.
The McLean family’s lawyer, Jay Prober, called the review board’s decision a “travesty of justice.”
“The board is supposed to look at the threat not only to physical safety but also psychological harm,” Prober told CTV News Channel. “The McLean family are members of the public and the board has ignored the rights of these victims.”
According to Prober, a subsequent judicial review could review and reject the board’s decision based on the “the psychological threat of harm to society.”
Federal Liberal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said the federal government is “committed to ensuring that our criminal justice system provides the greatest possible protection for Canadians.”
“While I can’t discuss a particular case, individuals who have been found Not Criminally Responsible are in provincial custody, and decisions regarding their release and associated conditions are made by provincial review boards,” she said in a statement.
“It would not be appropriate for me to comment further as the matter may find itself before the courts on appeal from the Review Board’s decision.”
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