'I am not free': Witness of Greyhound bus killing objects to Vince Li's absolute discharge

For some, the story of Vince Li — who killed a fellow passenger on a Greyhound bus in 2008 but was found not criminally responsible — ended when he was given an absolute discharge Friday. Not so for Kayli Shaw.

Kayli Shaw suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, says mental-health system was kinder to NCR offender

Will Baker, formerly known as Vince Li, leaves the Law Courts building in Winnipeg, after his annual criminal code review board hearing, on Monday, Feb. 6, 2017. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Trevor Hagan)

For some, the story of Vince Li — who killed a fellow passenger on a Greyhound bus in 2008 but was found not criminally responsible — ended when he was given an absolute discharge Friday. 

Not so for Kayli Shaw, who was one of the passengers on the bus when Tim McLean was beheaded. 

In a statement emailed to CBC Sunday, Shaw said she's afraid Li, whose name is now Will Baker, could stop taking medication for the schizophrenia that led to the fatal incident. 

His absolute discharge means Baker no longer has conditions imposed by the Criminal Code Review Board for his not criminally responsible designation, which used to include taking his medication under supervision, disclosing his address to his medical team and having no contact with the victim's family. 

"This is not right. Mr. Baker is free. I am not free," she wrote. "I live with things everyday."

Shaw was 22 when the attack happened, the same age as McLean. 
Tim McLean. (Family photo)

She was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after the incident, but says she believes the system was much kinder to Baker. 

"The decisions made by the medical review board seemingly reflects [that] those with that severity of mental illness are able to walk away without much thought of others," she wrote. "Yet for those who have been affected by other mental health issues are unable to get 'fixed and able to walk away' without such being used against them."

Shaw, another passenger and Tim McLean Sr. all filed lawsuits against the bus line, the Canadian government, RCMP and Li in 2011. They later had to drop the RCMP from the suit in 2013, and cross out a section that alleged Canada "failed to ensure the safety of passengers on board buses travelling between provinces." 
Dawn breaks over the Greyhound bus near Portage la Prairie, Man., on July 31, the morning after Tim McLean, 22, was killed. (CBC)

In 2015, both passengers dropped their suits against Greyhound as well, after the bus line said it could not be sued under Manitoba's system of no-fault vehicle insurance.

"I have to go through the abuses of the persons in power of making decisions on my life and the risk placed upon me," she wrote Sunday. 

"Yet a man that is forced to seek help gets to be known as not a risk." 

She's not alone in that opinion. McLean's great-uncle Dave Melcosky told CBC that the family is disappointed, and interim federal Conservative leader Rona Ambrose criticized the decision in a Facebook post. 

But the national director of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Mark Henick, said releasing Baker was the right choice. He said that Li's schizophrenia has been treated, but the victims left behind may have more healing to do.

With files from Tessa Vanderhart, Karen Pauls