Family of fatally stabbed homeless man raises concerns over bail, youth legal systems

The family of a homeless man who died after allegedly being stabbed by a group of teens is raising concerns about the bail system and protections for youth accused of crime.

Toronto police have said Ken Lee, 59, died in December after allegedly being swarmed and stabbed by a group of eight teenage girls – the teens are now charged with second degree-murder.

One of the girls has been granted bail while bail hearings have been scheduled for several others.

None of the teens can be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Lee's family is arguing that individuals accused in serious crimes should not be granted privacy rights or bail.

Eric Shum, one of Lee's family members, says in a written statement that naming alleged perpetrators could lead to more alleged victims and witnesses coming forward.

He also argues the YCJA protects criminal youths and not victims or the public.

"How is the Act protecting the public if we don't know who these perpetrators are and why they are released on bail?" he wrote.

Shum says Lee was a "kind soul with a heart of gold" who was not homeless because of alcohol or drug use.

"He was a man with pride who had fallen and wanted to learn to stand up on his own knowing that he always had his family behind him," Shum wrote.

Police have said they believe the accused teens congregated after meeting on social media and are from homes across the Greater Toronto Area.

Police are also investigating a case of eight to ten teen girls who allegedly assaulted several people at Toronto subway stations hours before Lee was stabbed. They have not confirmed if that group is the same as the one accused in Lee's death but have said they are looking for alleged assault victims.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2023.

The Canadian Press