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Doctor asks Manitoba hearing to allow Vince Li escorted trips into community

Vince Li is escorted by sheriff officers on his way to a court appearance in Portage la Prairie, Man., in August 2008.

Fred Greenslade/Reuters/Fred Greenslade/Reuters

Crown prosecutors do not oppose letting a man who beheaded a fellow passenger on a Greyhound bus off of the grounds of a Manitoba mental hospital.

A psychiatrist treating Vince Li is asking a federal review board to let Mr. Li take escorted trips into the city of Selkirk, Man.

Dr. Steve Kremer says Mr. Li has responded well to his treatment, and understands he has schizophrenia.

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The Crown did not object to the request at Monday's hearing.

The board has reserved its decision.

Mr. Li has been in a mental hospital since he was found not criminally responsible for stabbing and decapitating Tim McLean on a Greyhound bus in July, 2008.

Mr. Li was initially kept in a locked ward on the hospital, but began being allowed short walks on the hospital grounds in 2010.

The victim's mother, Carol DeDelley, has opposed granting more freedom to Mr. Li, saying he should be kept behind locked doors for the rest of his life.

Mr. Li's trial was told he was an untreated schizophrenic who heard voices telling him to kill Mr. McLean, a young carnival worker who Mr. Li had never met before. Passengers said Mr. Li started stabbing McLean in an unprovoked attack.

After the driver stopped the bus and the passengers exited, Mr. Li decapitated McLean and ate pieces of his flesh.

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The Crown has opposed some of the previous recommendations to give Mr. Li more freedom. Last year, Crown attorney Susan Helenchilde said Li should only be allowed to walk the hospital grounds during daylight hours and only when at least two staff members are with him.

The review board ruled that Mr. Li only needed to be escorted by one staff member, as long as that worker has a cellphone or two-way radio.

Mr. Li, 44, emigrated from China in 2001 and worked menial jobs in Winnipeg. He moved to Edmonton in 2006 and was on his way back to Winnipeg when he killed Mr. McLean.

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