Rohinie Bisesar found not criminally responsible for fatal PATH stabbing in 2015
Published Tuesday, November 6, 2018 5:14AM EST Last Updated Tuesday, November 6, 2018 7:08PM EST
A woman accused in a fatal stabbing that took place in a Shoppers Drug Mart in the city’s underground PATH system back in 2015 has been found not criminally responsible.
Justice John McMahon read the verdict on Tuesday to a packed courtroom filled with friends and family of the victim, 28-year-old Rosemarie Junor.
“I am satisfied on a balance of probabilities that Rohinie Bisesar suffered from a mental disorder, schizophrenia, when she took this woman’s life,” McMahon told the courtroom. “Because of the schizophrenia, she was incapable of knowing the killing was morally and legally wrong.”
The verdict comes after the accused pleaded not guilty last week to the charge of first-degree murder, as lawyers argued the 43-year-old woman was not criminally responsible due to mental illness. Her trial was before a judge only.
Junor was fatally stabbed while shopping in the pharmacy, located beneath Bay and Wellington streets on Dec. 11 2015, while talking to a friend on the phone.
Junor was taken from the scene to hospital via ambulance but she succumbed to her injuries a few days later.
Bisesar’s lawyer Robert Karrass said on Friday that his client was experiencing hallucinations that took control of her physically.
During the one-day trial, the courtroom heard from a forensic psychiatrist that Bisesar had experienced a psychiatric breakdown due to untreated schizophrenia at the time of the incident. It was also noted in the agreed statement of facts presented in the courtroom that Bisesar and Junor had never met each other before.
“My client had been robbed of the ability to understand that what she did was wrong,” Karrass told reporters after proceedings finished on Tuesday.
After being diagnosed with schizophrenia, Bisesar was prescribed medication and treatment, which she is responding well to, the forensic psychiatrist told a courtroom earlier this year.
Karrass said his client now understands the severity of her actions and why they occurred.
“This was a product of her mental health and not a product of her wanting to harm anyone,” he said.
After many delays in the trial due to concerns over Bisesar’s mental health, a jury found the woman fit to stand trial last month.
A not criminally responsible verdict sends Bisesar back to a secure wing of a mental health hospital in Toronto until an Ontario Review Board hearing, which decides if and how not criminally responsible patients should be detained, is held.
Karrass said Bisesar will be held at the secured women’s unit of CAMH east of downtown Toronto. She will not be allowed to leave the grounds of the hospital.
The decision continues to be hard to bear for Junor’s family, who insist Bisesar should serve time in a correctional facility despite her schizophrenia diagnosis.
“She’s sick yes, look after her but give her the sentence and leave her inside (an institution),” Rosemarie Junor’s mother Rosalind said.
“She murdered somebody, bottom line.”
Elizabeth Sueling, Rosemarie’s cousin, said the conditions imposed on Bisesar amount in her mind to getting away with murder.
“I understand that people can become mentally ill but that shouldn’t excuse you or allow you to get away with murder. Get the help you need but you should be locked away forever.”
She choked up when asked about how she felt the day Rosemarie was stabbed.
“I died that day too.”
The Ontario Review Board will likely meet to consider Bisesar’s case sometime in December.