Both the crown and defence lawyers at the first-degree murder trial of the woman accused of fatally stabbing a stranger in Toronto’s PATH say she should be found not criminally responsible due to mental disorder.
Rohinie Bisesar pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder on Friday.
According to the agreed statement of facts released on the first day of Bisesar’s trial, Bisesar and Rosemarie Junor were complete strangers before Dec. 11, 2015, the day Junor was stabbed once in the heart at a Shopper Drug Mart while on an afternoon break from work.
Junor had gone to pick up a few things and browsing through the store as she spoke with a friend on the phone at the time of the attack.
Surveillance video captured footage of Bisesar entering the Shoppers carrying a large red shopping bag and walking down the aisle where Junor is standing — one witnesses described it as in the manner of “as if she knows her.”
A few seconds later Junor walked out of the aisle, clutching her chest says to a young woman in the store “I just got stabbed.”
The same witness who saw Bisear approach Junor, then saw her place something on a cosmetic display stand and casually walk away. That item would eventually be identified as a small knife, purchased from a Dollar Store, and blood on the tip was confirmed to be Junor’s.
The 28-year-old newlywed died in hospital four days later.
A jury declared Bisesar fit to stand trial on Monday after officials who oversaw her treatment also declared her fit this past summer.
On Friday, Bisesar’s lawyer presented a defence of not criminally responsible due to mental disorder.
Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Ian Swayze has told the jury that Bisesar has schizophrenia, but is doing well after being treated for the past year.
Swayze told the court that the first signs of Bisesar’s deteriorating mental state was 2008. Despite excelling in education, and a six-year common law relationship, she eventually was “bombarded” with delusions, hallucinations, psychotic episodes, eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia.
He said he first saw Bisesar in the fall of 2017 and has been treating her since. He stated that her mental state deteriorated to the point of having thoughts that her family was going to be harmed – adding that at one point she believed someone had put implants in her brain.
Swayze said he believes that on the day of the attack Bisesar’s mental state “would be rightfully described as severe” and that she was experiencing hallucinations.
Following testimony by Swayze, the Crown conceded that Bisesar should be found not criminally responsible.
The judge said he would review the facts over the weekend and will deliver his verdict next Tuesday.
Junor’s mother Rosalind spoke to media outside the courtroom on Friday.
“You all have families … May I remind you all when you leave your home in the morning and you get home at night — tell them that you love them, because you never know what will happen, like what happened with my daughter.”
680 NEWS reporter Lucas Meyer was at the courtroom covering the trial. See his posts below.
The Big Story Podcast also produced an episode in which they explore who Bisesar is. Listen to it below.
The statement of facts was read in court on Friday. See the document below.
Who is Rohinie Bisesar? Accused in fatal PATH drugstore stabbing to stand trial
Woman accused of fatal drugstore stabbing in the PATH declared fit to stand trial
Shoppers fatal stabbing suspect fit to stand trial in spite of ‘bizarre rants’