Woman accused in fatal stabbing should be found not criminally responsible: lawyers


TORONTO — A Toronto woman accused in a fatal stabbing suffers from a mental disorder and should be found not criminally responsible, Crown and defence lawyers told her first-degree murder trial on Friday.

Both sides agreed that Rohinie Bisesar was ill at the time of the incident, which took place at a Shoppers Drug Mart in Toronto’s busy financial district in December 2015.

Bisesar, 43, has pleaded not guilty in the death of Rosemarie Junor.

Two psychiatrists concluded that Bisesar was under intense delusions and hallucinations that commanded her to hurt someone, court heard.

“Both reports suggest Rohinie Bisesar suffered from a major mental disorder, schizophrenia, at the time,” her defence lawyer, Robert Karrass, told the court.

The crown agreed, saying Bisesar met the threshold for being found not criminally responsible.

The incident on Dec. 11, 2015 was captured entirely by surveillance cameras, the trial heard.

Junor, an ultrasound technician, was on an afternoon break picking up lotion for her newlywed husband at the Shoppers Drug Mart in an underground concourse, court heard.

The 28-year-old was talking on the phone with a friend as she shopped when Bisesar walked in and went straight to Junor, picking her at random, the Crown told court.

“Rohinie Bisesar had stabbed Rosemarie Junor once directly in the heart,” Crown attorney Beverley Richards said.

Bisesar then turned around, placed the knife she had used on a cosmetics counter, and “casually” walked out of the store, Richards said. The entire incident took about a minute, court heard.

Clutching her chest, Junor walked to a store employee and said “I just got stabbed,” court heard.

As Junor was rushed to hospital, a paramedic asked her if she knew her attacker, Richards said.

“Before she lost consciousness Rosemarie Junor told the paramedic she did not know the person who had stabbed her,” Richards said.

No link between the two women was ever found in the subsequent police investigation, court heard. Junor died later in hospital.

Bisesar was arrested four days after the stabbing.

She was a high achiever with multiple university degrees, court heard, with no criminal history or substance abuse problems.

Dr. Ian Swayze, a forensic psychiatrist who took the stand for the defence, testified that Bisesar told a psychiatrist she was being controlled through “nanotechnology” devices in her body.

“She had voices telling her these things and she said she could feel the devices,” Swayze said.

Bisesar said she was commanded by a voice in her head to harm someone and to buy a knife from the Dollar Store before Junor’s stabbing, Swayze said.

The killing would not have occurred if Bisesar received treatment, he said.

“She resisted because she was in psychosis,” Swayze said. “This is a terrible tragedy, a terrible tragedy. Miss Bisesar is a victim of her illness and we have someone deceased because of it.”

Bisesar sat quietly in the prisoner’s box throughout the proceedings, showing no emotion.

The judge presiding over the trial said he’ll deliver his decision on Tuesday.

Liam Casey, The Canadian Press