Dr. Stanley Yaren works magic… again

There is yet another tragic story being reported in the Winnipeg Free Press about a woman who stabbed her two young children and sister being found not criminally responsible because she was suffering from a major mental illness has striking similarities to many of the cases coming before the courts.

The 36-year-old, who can’t be named to protect the identities of her victims, appeared in court on several charges, including multiple counts of attempted murder. She admitted to attacking her four-month-old and nine-year-old sons and sister, 32, with a knife in an unprovoked rampage at her downtown apartment in June 2010.

“Everyone is going to die today,” the woman said after grabbing a large kitchen knife. She also kicked her four-month-old niece across the room before she was disarmed by her sister and held for police. Her two children suffered critical injuries from stab wounds to the stomach but recovered. Her sister suffered minor injuries to her chest; her niece was not injured.

Again as in prior cases, both the Crown and defence lawyers agreed with medical reports stating she couldn’t appreciate the nature of her actions based on hallucinations and paranoid delusions she was experiencing at the time.

Provincial court Judge Rocky Pollack agreed with the not criminally responsible diagnosis, so the woman will not go to jail nor receive a criminal record. She will now be under the care of a provincial review board while receiving medical treatment.

“We have no authority to punish an act that is committed by someone who is not able to form the criminal intent,” Pollack said. “We know now these bizarre and frightening acts took place while she was suffering a psychotic disorder.”

The woman, who came to Canada from Somalia, has no prior criminal record. Previously the Free Press quoted a source stating that she was grappling with post-partum depression and had been hospitalized in February 2010. She told police her husband had been using magic on her and expressed concerns about being poisoned and abducted. Her husband doesn’t live in Canada.

“She is known by family to otherwise be a very caring and loving parent,” Dr. Stanley Yaren wrote in a report presented to the court Thursday. He has been working closely with the woman since her arrest and said she has responded well to anti-psychotic medication. She is unable to recall many details of the attack, which ended with the woman calmly sitting on a couch and waiting for police to arrive. Dr. Stanley Yaren wrote the report on Vincent Li also.

The woman is now back in the community, living under the supervision of medical officials and the Elizabeth Fry Society. Child and Family Services now has custody of her children, court was told. She will continue to undergo treatment and will appear before the review board within three months to determine if she can remain an out-patient or should be brought into a secure facility such as Selkirk Mental Health Centre.

The question begs to be asked…. If she was reportedly hospitalized in February 2010, why was the treatment provided not adequate to avert this tragedy yet after a couple of sessions with Dr. Stanley Yaren she is fit to live in the community now?

Thankfully she is not allowed to have any contact with her children unless supervised visits are approved by CFS

Ordering security gear delays Vincent Li escorted walks?

A news report in Winnipeg is stating that the province “is continuing to implement a security plan for Vincent Li.”
CTV Winnipeg claims that officials have stated “Additional security officers have been hired and trained, but there has been a delay in ordering them security gear, which has delayed allowing Li the escorted walks around Selkirk Mental Health Centre”

Statements attributed to these anonymous officials, are simply preposterous. Even when given consideration that they are alleged to originate from the same bureaucracy headed by the Minister of Justice Andrew Swan. Swan’s office certainly garnered some press with statements that Manitoba would fight allowing Vincent Li escorted walks… and then did nothing. Unless the press report is correct and the Department of Justice chose to delay the walks with juvenile and inexcusable reasoning.

I wonder what the press headlines will be when some lawyer decides to seek recourse from the Manitoba taxpayers for the trampling of Vincent Li basic human rights. “Salt in open wounds as Greyhound Bus Slayer seeks justice”
We are seeking a comment from Minister of Justice Andrew Swan office.

Update:
Administrative Assistant response from Minister of Justice Andrew Swan office:

On behalf of the Honourable Andrew Swan, Minister of Justice and
Attorney General, I would like to acknowledge receipt of your email dated September 23, 2010.

This matter falls under the jurisdiction of the Honourable Teresa Oswald, Minister of Health. I have taken the liberty of referring a copy of your correspondence directly to her office for consideration.

Security must be tighter for Li, justice minister says

Manitoba Justice Minister Andrew Swan has quickly called for tighter security before Vincent Li will be allowed to have his walks. But will his voice be heard?

“Vince Li will not be allowed to leave the locked forensic unit at the Selkirk Mental Health Centre for brief outings until security measures are beefed up”, Justice Minister Andrew Swan said. Swan continued that the decision by a Criminal Code review board to allow Li to have brief escorted passes outdoors on the health centre’s grounds “will shock the conscience of Manitobans and indeed all Canadians.”

“In our view this order is contrary to the interests of public safety and seriously undermines public confidence in the Canadian system of justice,” he stated.

Swan wrote a letter to federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson outlining his concerns.
“We strongly urge that the Criminal Code of Canada should be amended to ensure that such a demonstrably unfit disposition cannot be made,” Swan said in the letter. “At a minimum, the Criminal Code should provide that public safety must be the paramount consideration before the Criminal Code Review Board.”

Swan said the Selkirk Mental Health Centre, which houses Li, will decide what security measures are needed.

While the statements made by Justice Minster Swan are appreciated they will do little to change the reality of the decision. The Supreme Court of Canada has clearly decided that the rights of Vincent Li are the only consideration before the Review Board.

There is clearly a need to amend the Criminal Code of Canada and that is the motivation of Tim’s Law. But as Justice Minister Andrew Swan is all to aware, to provide safety and security to the general public of Manitoba,  and the rest of Canadians, there needs to be some major changes and renovations to the facility that Vincent Li is housed in, Selkirk Mental Health Centre (SMHC).

This will require taxpayers dollars… is Justice Minister Andrew Swan lobbying for this from his provincial counterparts?