TORONTO — A woman charged in an apparently unprovoked fatal stabbing in Toronto’s financial district was declared unfit to stand trial Tuesday, with a judge ordering her to spend two months receiving treatment at a mental health facility.
Rohinie Bisesar faces one count of first-degree murder in the death of Rosemarie Junor, a 28-year-old newlywed who was stabbed at a Shoppers Drug Mart in Toronto’s popular underground PATH network of shops in December 2015.
Bisesar was slated to stand trial in January 2018, but the Crown requested she receive a fitness assessment.
That hearing began before a jury on Monday, with Bisesar claiming she hears unseen people speaking to her who control her actions. She also claimed Junor is not really dead.
Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Ian Swayze testified that Bisesar has a mental illness consistent with schizophrenia and experiences delusions, auditory hallucinations, disordered thoughts and paranoia.
Because of her condition, Bisesar could not effectively conduct her own defence or instruct defence counsel, Swayze told the court.
Fitness requires that a person be able to instruct their lawyer, understand why they’re in court and who the major players are, including the judge and prosecutor.
The jury at the fitness hearing found Bisesar unfit to stand trial after a short deliberation on Tuesday.
Justice John McMahon, who was presiding over the matter, then ordered Bisesar to spend 60 days in treatment at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, a standard measure for people deemed unfit for trial, known as a “treatment order.”
Bisesar will likely be given anti-psychotic and anti-anxiety medications while at CAMH, the court heard.
She is scheduled to return to court on Feb. 9. At that point, a new hearing will be scheduled to determine if Bisesar’s treatment has resulted in her being fit to stand trial, her defence lawyer Robert Karrass said.
“If she has become fit, we are then able to proceed towards trial,” Karrass said. “If she is not fit then we would ask for an additional treatment order or ‘keep fit’ order to make sure she is getting her treatment.”
Biseasar listened quietly to McMahon as he issued her treatment order. When given an opportunity to address the court, she said she wanted staff at CAMH to examine her face for “implants” which she said could be affecting her behaviour.
Bisesar also asked to fire Karrass and represent herself — a request she made numerous times throughout the fitness hearing.
McMahon responded that someone found unfit is not legally allowed to represent themselves.
“These folks (on the jury) decided, rightly or wrongly, that you are not fit right now to proceed to trial,” McMahon said. “Once you’re fit we can have a bunch of discussions about whether you’d like to have a (self-represented) trial.”
Bisesar will be transferred to CAMH as soon as space opens up there, likely within the next two weeks, McMahon said. Until then she will remain at a jail in Milton, Ont.