Man who cannibalised bus passenger found not guilty

March 6th, 2009 - 12:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, March 6 (IANS) A 40-year-old Canadian man of Chinese origin, who made headlines globally last summer by beheading and cannibalizing a fellow passenger on a bus, was not found guilty of the gruesome murder Thursday because of his mental ill-health.
A court in Winnipeg, about 1,000 km from here, said in its verdict that Vince Li was not criminally responsible for beheading and cannibalizing 22-year-old Tim McLean because he suffered from mental illness. He is delusional schizophrenic who “believed he was acting in self defence and that he had been commanded by God to do so,” the court said in its verdict.

“These grotesque acts are appalling. However, the acts themselves and the context in which they were committed are strongly suggestive of a mental disorder,” said Justice John Scurfield in his verdict. “He did not appreciate the act he committed was morally wrong. He believed he was acting in self defence and that he had been commanded by God to do so.”

During the trial, psychiatrists for the defence and prosecution testified that Vince Li suffered from “a psychotic episode” at the time of the crime.

According to them, the assailant heard what he described as “the voice of God” telling him to kill Tim McLean or risk being killed himself. Instead of being put behind bars, the Chinese man will now be send to a mental institution which will evaluate his condition and then decide where to transfer him for the long term. His case will be reviewed each year to see if he is fit to be released into society.

Edmonton-based Chinese immigrant, who came to Canada five years ago, was charged with second-degree murder and beheading of Tim McLean from Winnipeg on a Greyhound night bus July 31. He was arrested after a stand-off with police at the crime site on Trans-Canada Highway.

After stabbing repeatedly his victim, who was seated at the back of the bus, Vince Li beheaded him, cut off his body parts and was seen eating them by passengers who had jumped out of the bus. More shockingly, he even tried to flee with many body parts of his victim - an ear, nose and partial mouth - in a plastic bag hidden in his pocket. With Thursday’s verdict, he will also have no criminal record against his name.

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