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Toronto woman who killed stranger may be allowed to live in community: review board

TORONTO — A woman found not criminally responsible for stabbing a stranger to death in a Toronto drug store has been ordered detained at a mental health hospital, but may be allowed to live in the community.
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TORONTO — A woman found not criminally responsible for stabbing a stranger to death in a Toronto drug store has been ordered detained at a mental health hospital, but may be allowed to live in the community. 

The Ontario Review Board ordered Rohinie Bisesar to remain in the secure wing of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, in a disposition released earlier this week.

The board, which decides if and how not criminally responsible patients should be detained, ordered the mental health hospital to create a program for Bisesar, who killed Rosemarie Junor, 28, on Dec. 11, 2015 in a Shoppers Drug Mart in downtown Toronto.

The board said the person in charge of the hospital may permit Bisesar "to live in the community in supervised accommodation approved by the person in charge."

She also may be allowed to leave the hospital with staff or indirectly supervised, at the discretion of the hospital, the board said.

The reasons for the board's decision will be released in the coming weeks.

Bisesar, 45, was found not criminally responsible in a one-day trial on Nov. 6, 2018. A psychiatrist testified she was in the throes of a psychotic breakdown with untreated schizophrenia when she walked into the store and stabbed Junor.

Court heard Bisesar walked directly to Junor and stabbed her in the heart with a small knife.

Bisesar lived with severe hallucinations and delusions at the time that manifested as a voice commanding her to harm someone. She refused treatment for years while in custody at the mental health hospital and only became fit to stand trial in April 2018.

Last year, the review board denied Bisesar community visits except to receive psychotherapy. The board noted her schizophrenia was nearly in complete remission and had made good progress.

But the board said she lacked insight into the homicide and remained a threat to the community. It said Bisesar blamed the homicide on her illness and considered herself a victim of schizophrenia.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 8, 2020.

Liam Casey, The Canadian Press

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