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Lawsuits dropped in bus attack

The Canadian government and the RCMP have been quietly dropped from lawsuits filed after the beheading of a young man aboard a Greyhound bus in Manitoba.

Victim Tim McLean's father filed a claim soon after his son was killed in the summer of 2008 against Greyhound, perpetrator Vince Li and Canada. The Canadian Press recently discovered that the file was amended in April 2012 to drop the federal government as a defendant and to add 22-year-old McLean's "infant son" as one of 15 people who have "been deprived of Tim McLean Jr.'s guidance, care and companionship."

Lawsuits filed by two separate bus passengers, Debra Tucker and Kayli Shaw, have also been amended to drop the RCMP.

Lawyer Jay Prober, who represents Tim McLean Sr., said the government was dropped from his client's lawsuit because there were concerns it wouldn't stand up in court.

"We were concerned that it wasn't a strong enough case," Prober said.

The lawsuit against Greyhound and Li is proceeding, but has been delayed because the lawyer representing the bus company has just been appointed a federal judge, Prober said.

Li has been confined to a psychiatric institution north of Winnipeg since he was found not criminally responsible for stabbing, mutilating and beheading McLean on a bus heading to Winnipeg in July 2008. Li, a schizophrenic, sat next to the 22-year-old McLean after the young man smiled at him and asked how he was doing.

Li said he heard the voice of God telling him to kill the young carnival worker or "die immediately." Li repeatedly stabbed McLean who unsuccessfully fought for his life.

The bus pulled over near Portage la Prairie, Man., and Li continued stabbing and mutilating McLean's body. Passengers fled the bus and stood outside. Li eventually escaped through a window and was arrested.

The original statement of claim filed by McLean's father alleged the government of Canada was liable because it is responsible for national transportation security. It also argued that the government knew or should have known about previous violence on board Greyhound buses and failed to put safeguards in place.

"It knew or ought to have known that the deceased, Tim McLean Jr., was at risk or harm from attack at any time and that irreparable harm did in fact occur," said the lawsuit. "The defendant Canada knew or ought to have known that the industry on its own, specifically the defendant Greyhound, had not taken measures to create a safe, secure system for inter-city bus travel."

The lawsuits filed by passengers Tucker and Shaw in 2011 have not only dropped the RCMP, but have crossed out a section that alleged Canada "failed to ensure the safety of passengers on board buses travelling between provinces" and "failed to assure that Canada's transportation system meets the highest practicable safety and security standards."

None of the allegations has been proven in court. The federal government never filed a statement of defence.

All the lawsuits still allege Greyhound and Li are responsible for damages. All statements of claim allege Greyhound failed to ensure the safety and security of passengers, knowing they could be "at risk and in imminent danger at any given moment," and didn't provide adequate training to its employees.

Any injury caused to McLean, or any passengers who witnessed his graphic killing, was "as a result of the sudden and unforeseeable actions of the defendant Li," Greyhound says in its defence.

"It has provided its employees with security training designed to ensure that its passengers would be as safe as reasonably possible aboard its vehicles."

The Canadian Press

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