WINNIPEG -- Doctors are recommending greater freedom for a man convicted of killing and beheading a Greyhound bus passenger four years ago.
Vince Li was in a Winnipeg courtroom Monday for his annual hearing before the Criminal Code Review Board.
Li, 44, has been held at Selkirk Mental Health Centre since March 2009 after being found not criminally responsible for killing 22-year-old Tim McLean.
Doctors at the hospital are recommending Li be allowed escorted passes to Selkirk, Man., starting with 30 minutes a day.
Li suffers from schizophrenia. Court heard at his trial Li was suffering from auditory hallucinations commanding him to kill McLean.
Dr. Steven Kremer told the review board Li is responding well to medication and understands his condition would deteriorate if he stopped taking them.
"There is no evidence he is harbouring any delusional belief," Kremer said. "He is doing very well."
Under the plan, Li would be escorted by one plainclothes peace officer and a clinical nurse. If the trips go well, they would increase in duration by 15 minutes each week.
"I believe the privileges we are asking for would not put the community at risk," said Kremer, who estimated Li's risk of reoffending at less than 1%.
Crown attorney Susan Helenchilde did not oppose the recommendation.
Last June, the review board relaxed conditions restricting Li's access to the hospital grounds, ruling that he gradually be allowed escorted ground passes for up to several hours a day.
McLean's mother said Li should never be allowed off hospital grounds.
"The Crown may not be opposed but I certainly am," Carol deDellay said outside court. "Letting him go puts all the community at risk. Don't give me percentages, the fact is he could do it again."
Li is a patient, not a criminal, and he shouldn't be treated as such, said Chris Summerville, CEO of the Schizophrenia Society of Canada.
"Patients get better, they recover, they learn to live with their illnesses," Summerville said. "His risk level is very low. If all (schizophrenia patients) did as well and recovered as well as Mr. Li, I would call that miraculous."
Selkirk Mayor Larry Johannson wondered if it's too soon to allow Li on city streets.
"It's a tough one, it's scary," he said. "If they do make this decision there's not much we can do, we have to stand behind it, but I sure hope that they thoroughly do their job and have everything in order."
The review board will release its decision in the next few days.