Getting Away with Beheading in Canada

A Canadian court has ruled that an immigrant who beheaded a fellow passenger on a Greyhound bus and then ate his eyeballs is not criminally responsible for his actions because he has a "mental disorder." The decision, which follows a series of spectacularly lenient judicial rulings in Canada in recent years, has outraged ordinary Canadians, who say that left-wing judges increasingly are sacrificing justice and common sense on the altar of bleeding-heart political correctness.

The high-profile murder case involves 41-year-old Vincent Weiguang Li, a man from China who immigrated to Canada in 2001. After more than half a decade of generous support (bilingual education, free housing, health care, and affirmative action) from the Canadian government to help him get settled into his new country, Li ended up divorced and unemployed.

Dejected, Li in July 2008 wrote a troubling farewell letter to his ex-wife with the words: "I'm gone. Don't look for me. I hope you are happy." He then bought a bus ticket using a fake name and boarded a Greyhound bus carrying a butcher knife. As the bus was passing through a desolate stretch of central Canada in the dark of night, Li stabbed, decapitated, and cannibalized his sleeping seatmate, 22-year-old Tim McLean. Li's bloody rampage continued for more than four hours, until police eventually subdued him with a taser gun.

Many Canadians believe Li planned the whole act in advance as a twisted way of exacting revenge on his ex-wife. In any case, Li seemed to be hoping that the police would shoot him. At the crime scene, Li told police: "I'm guilty. Please kill me."

After meeting with government psychiatrists, however, Li claimed that God had told him to kill McLean because McLean "was a force of evil." Doctors later concluded that Li was actually a "decent person" who was suffering from untreated schizophrenia and was out of his mind when he attacked McLean. They also advised the judge that Li should be found not criminally responsible (NCR) for his actions based on his mental state at the time. "People who are mentally ill should not be convicted when they don't know what they did was wrong," the doctors said.

As a result, the sole issue for the presiding judge to decide was whether or not Li should be held criminally responsible. Not a single one of the three dozen witnesses to the killing was called to testify. When the court reporter read aloud the charge of second-degree murder and asked for his plea, Li responded in a clear, loud voice: "not guilty." And the judge agreed.

The practical effect of the judge's ruling is that instead of going to prison, Li will go to a hospital to receive medication and counseling, after which he may be released back on to the street in less than one year, with no criminal record. In Canada, anyone found NCR is not required to serve any minimum time in detention.