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Woman at centre of deadly drugstore stabbing could be allowed to live in community: review board

A woman found not criminally responsible for fatally stabbing a stranger in the heart at the makeup counter of a Toronto drugstore five years ago could ultimately be allowed to live in the community if the mental health facility where she is staying decides she can, the Ontario Review Board says.

Rohini Bisesar is being treated at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). But she could be given a variety of privileges, ranging from escorted walks around hospital grounds, and visits in the community with indirect supervision, to living in the community in a supervised setting, according to a board decision dated May 5.

Two years ago, an Ontario Superior Court judge found there was “overwhelming evidence that Bisesar has schizophrenia,” which he believed led to the killing of Rosemarie Junor.

The young newlywed had been at Shoppers Drug Mart while on a break from her job as an ultrasound technician on Dec.11, 2015 when she was stabbed by Bisesar, a complete stranger. 

She died in hospital a few days later.

WATCH | Family of Rosemarie Junor angry attacker found not criminally responsible:

There was anger and frustration from the family of Rosemarie Junor, a newlywed who died in hospital days after being stabbed in the heart while browsing at a makeup counter in Toronto three years ago. A judge says her attacker was mentally ill at the time and didn’t understand what was right or wrong. 1:45

The 28-year-old was described as a beautiful, joyful young woman whose loss left “a hole in our hearts,” in the words of her mother Rosalind Junor in a victim impact statement. 

Junor’s family had expressed anger at both the prosecution and defence lawyers for not calling for a criminally responsible finding.

The Crown and defence agreed at the time that Bisesar walked into the store, stabbed Junor with a small knife purchased at a dollar store and placed the weapon on a counter before walking out of the store.

A forensic psychiatrist was the only witness to testify at the one-day trial and concluded Bisesar was in the throes of a psychiatric breakdown due to untreated schizophrenia at the time of the attack. 

Dr. Ian Swayze said Bisesar believed she was being controlled through “nanotechnology” devices in her body. She also told Swayze someone had “hijacked” her body and carried out the stabbing, he testified.

Court heard that a second psychiatrist agreed with that assessment and both reported that Bisesar suffered from severe hallucinations and delusions that manifested as a voice commanding her to harm someone.

Should CAMH allow Bisesar to re-enter the community, the facility is required to notify police. She would not be allowed to possess any weapons and would be required to report to the facility at least once a week.

CAMH would first conduct a risk assessment to determine what privileges Bisesar might receive. 


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