Friday, February 10, 2017

Chinese Cannibal Gets Absolute Discharge. Disgusting, Shocking and Totally Diabolical

Baker remains significant threat to society


tom-brodbeck
BY WINNIPEG SUN
POSTED: 
Will Baker
Will Baker, formerly known as Vince Li, leaves the Law Courts building in Winnipeg, after his annual criminal code review board hearing with his lawyer Alan Libman, left, Monday, February 6, 2017. A schizophrenic man who beheaded and cannibalized a fellow passenger on a Greyhound bus could know later this week whether he will be granted his freedom. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Trevor Hagan
Will Baker, aka Vince Li, has been given an absolute discharge by Manitoba's Criminal Code Review Board. It is easily one of this province's worst travesties of justice. And it violates a Supreme Court of Canada decision that ruled when someone found not criminally responsible for an offence is a significant threat to the community that the state maintain some control over that individual.
Baker is clearly a significant threat to society. He suffers from a severe form of schizophrenia which, untreated, can cause him to commit unimaginable crimes, as he did when he killed, decapitated and mutilated Tim McLean on a Greyhound bus outside of Portage la Prairie in 2008. Unlike the vast majority of people who suffer from this mysterious chemical imbalance of the brain, Baker – when he's not on medication – can, and did, commit severe violent acts against others. Most people who suffer from this disease do not commit violent acts against others. Yet the doctors and specialists who continue to advocate for Baker's unfettered freedom conveniently, and recklessly, ignore that very salient fact.
Baker's treating physician testified at his hearing this week that many patients who suffer from schizophrenia stop taking their meds for a variety of reasons. They grow tired of the side-effects, they think they're cured, they forget, they can't afford the drugs, whatever. And if there isn't someone there to ensure they're taking their medication, and they don't do it voluntarily, they relapse. That's a fact. That is evidence that was entered into this week's hearing.
Are there any assurances whatsoever that Baker's doctors, advocates – the state – will ensure he's taking his meds not just today but in five, 10, 15 years from now? Nope. Baker received an absolute discharge. He is free to do whatever he wants. Take his meds, not take his meds, move out of the province or even out of the country.
In other words, the review board gave zero consideration to the safety of the public. They violated the Supreme Court ruling. They failed to balance the rights of public safety with the rights of Baker's desire for greater liberties. And for that, they should be ashamed.
What harm would it have caused if Baker had to check in with his treatment team on a mandatory basis? Regular monitoring would have still allowed him to be integrated into the community. It wouldn't have taken anything away from his ability to lead a productive and meaningful life. The two objectives are not mutually exclusive.
In fact, Baker, through his doctor, even agreed during this week's hearing that he cannot function without his meds and without the counselling of his treatment team. He said he plans to continue to have the treatment team come to his home daily to make sure he's taking his medication, even though it will now be on a voluntary basis. But what happens if in a few years, or in 15 or 20 years, Baker doesn't want to do that anymore? What if he believes over time that he doesn't want that kind of intrusion into his life? And what if he believes at some point he's cured? Or doesn't have the money to afford the medication? Did the review board think that through?
Baker's advocates argue that the recidivism rate among those found not criminally responsible is relatively low. But what they conveniently ignore is that Baker is a very rare case. The potential harm he can, and has, caused is very different than the vast majority of people afflicted with his disease. Which is why he should always be subject to mandatory supervision.
Sadly, the review board failed to do their jobs in this regard. They have failed Baker and they have failed the community.