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Metro Snapshot: March 6, 2009 – Metro US

Metro Snapshot: March 6, 2009

“GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER”: The family of Tim McLean said they were denied closure after Vince Li, the man who murdered and beheaded McLean on a Greyhound bus, was found to be not criminally responsible for the crime due to mental illness. The verdict means that Li will be institutionalized instead of imprisoned, and will not have a criminal record — circumstances that McLean’s older sister said were tantamount to “getting away with murder.”

Dr. Stanley Yaren, a psychiatrist who has interviewed Li 19 times since his arrest, said that the man was a “gentle, polite, decent person” who was a victim of schizophrenia, which made the past few years of his life chaotic and unbalanced.

Despite the McLean family’s claims, a lawyer who chairs the board that will decide Li’s fate said that not being found criminally responsible is a far cry from getting off scot-free. John Stefaniuk said that Li would receive treatment in an institution where his status would be reviewed yearly. Stefaniuk added that there are many cases he is aware of where an offender would have been back on the streets far sooner if they had simply pleaded guilty to a crime.

CONVICTION QUASHED: Romeo Phillion, who spent 31 years in prison based on a murder confession he later recanted, had his conviction overturned by Ontario’s top court. However, Phillion fell short of his crusade for exoneration as the court ordered another trial because crucial evidence was not disclosed to his defence.

POLE POSITION: A swanky Montreal restaurant was converted into a televison studio for a four-episode series where carefully selected dancers competed for the honour to be named Quebec’s top stripper. Host and producer by TV star Anne-Marie Losique — known for scanty outfits and time spent on Ben Affleck’s lap — said she hopes to stage a national edition of the show in the near future.

STALLED LEADERSHIP: Ontario Progressive Leader John Tory’s political future was very much in doubt after he lost his second election in two years, this time a neck-and-neck race with Liberal candidate Rick Johnson. In a brief speech, Tory thanked his supporters and told reporters that he would make an announcement regarding his future today.

SETTING PRIORITIES: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton proposed a high-level international conference aimed at hammering out a clear set of objectives for the NATO mission in Afghanistan. Furthering the Obama Administration’s Middle East outreach, Clinton also suggested that there would be room for Iran at the negotiating table.

HEY LADIES: First the good news — female representation in parliaments around the world has risen 60 per cent since 1995. The bad news? The proportion of female legislators stood at a paltry 18.3 per cent. The United Nations had once hoped to have women make up 30 per cent of world lawmakers by the mid-1990s.

I’LL SEE YOU IN HEALTH: President Barack Obama chastised American lawmakers for years of talking and tinkering but doing little of substance to reform the country’s health care system. Obama spent the day with hundreds of experts and policymakers who he hoped to involve in the health care portion of his already ambitious domestic agenda.

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