Trial of Toronto woman in fatal stabbing hears of her mental illness

Trial of Toronto woman in fatal stabbing hears of her mental illness

Rohinie Bisesar pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder

If Rohinie Bisesar had been treated for her severe mental illness, maybe Rosemarie Junor would still be alive.

That’s what a forensic psychiatrist told Bisesar’s first-degree murder trial on Friday, where both Crown and defence called for the 43-year-old woman to be found not criminally responsible for fatally stabbing Junor in December 2015.

“This is a terrible tragedy, a terrible tragedy,” said Dr. Ian Swayze. “Miss Bisesar is a victim of her illness and we have someone deceased because of it.”

Swayze was the only witness called to testify at the one-day Toronto trial where Bisesar pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder. She said nothing at her trial and showed no emotion in court.

The psychiatrist said Bisesar has schizophrenia and refused treatment while she was in custody. It took several court orders before doctors were able to force treatment upon her two years after she was arrested for Junor’s death, court heard.

Bisesar was finally declared fit for trial this week after “aggressive treatment” that has her currently on three anti-psychotic medications.

At her trial, both Crown and defence filed two independent psychiatric reports and a joint statement of facts about what happened on Dec. 11, 2015 — an incident captured entirely on surveillance footage.

Junor, 28, took a break from her work as an ultrasound technician at a private medical clinic around 3 p.m. to shop at an underground concourse in Toronto’s financial district.

She chatted on the phone with a friend while picking up lotion for her newlywed husband at a Shoppers Drug Mart. At that time, Bisesar, armed with a small knife she had bought at a Dollar Store across town, walked in.

Bisesar went directly up to Junor, following orders she believed were issued by a voice inside her head.

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

Bisesar then turned around, placed the knife on a cosmetics counter, and “casually” walked out of the store. The entire incident took about a minute.

Clutching her chest, Junor walked to a store employee.

“I just got stabbed,” she said.

In an ambulance on the way to hospital, a paramedic asked her if she knew who had “done this.”

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

Investigators found no prior link between the two women.

Junor died four days later in hospital, on Dec. 15. That same day, police arrested Bisesar.

“Someone had hijacked my body and committed the offence,” Bisesar later told Swayze, the psychiatrist recalled.

Bisesar didn’t believe Junor was dead, saying she was in hiding, he testified.

“As she became more well, she was faced with the reality she was physically responsible for the act of the death of this poor woman,” Swayze said.

Swayze said Bisesar had shown signs of illness in the past.

RELATED: Woman charged after altercation injured baby in Toronto

He said her mother had called police the year before, when her daughter threatened to burn down the family home and hurt people. At that time, Bisesar was arrested and admitted to hospital, but she refused treatment and eventually left, against medical advice.

Outside the courtroom, Junor’s mother expressed outrage at the lawyers’ call for a not criminally responsible finding.

“You did it. Accept it. And then you know what I’d say? ‘I forgive you,’” Rosalind Junor said through tears.

The family’s anger spilled over into the street outside the courthouse as they spoke with reporters.

“We’re very, very hurt as a family,” Rosalind Junor said. “We were a very, very happy family.”

Richard Junor said the justice system failed his sister.

“There’s no justice,” he said.

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

Liam Casey, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Police officers and their dogs undergo training at the RCMP Police Dog Services training centre in Innisfail, Alta., on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Mounties say they are searching for an armed and dangerous man near a provincial park in northern Alberta who is believed to have shot and killed a service dog during a police chase. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
RCMP search for armed man in northern Alberta after police dog shot and killed

Cpl. Deanna Fontaine says a police service dog named Jago was shot during the pursuit

Alberta now has 2,336 active cases of COVID-19, with 237 people in hospital, including 58 in intensive care. (Black Press file photo)
Red Deer down to 73 active cases of COVID-19, lowest since early November

The Central zone has 253 active cases of the virus

The Sylvan Lake Gulls show off the home jerseys (white) and their way jerseys at the Gulls Media Day on June 17, before the season opener. Following the media day, the team took to the field for their first practise. (Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News)
Sylvan Lake Gulls ready to throw first pitch as construction continues

The Gulls inaugural season kicks off June 18 with a game against the Edmonton Prospects

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

The Montreal Police logo is seen in Montreal on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Some Quebec politicians are calling for an investigation after a video was released that appears to show a Montreal police officer with his leg on a young Black man’s neck during an arrest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Probe called for after video appearing to show Montreal officer’s knee on Black youth’s neck

Politicians call for investigation after clip evokes memories of George Floyd incident

Thousands of protesters make their way through the downtown core during a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, Friday June 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs’ study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Chair of the House public safety committee says it’s time for a reckoning on ‘quasi-military’ structure

A case filled with packages of boneless chicken breasts is shown in a grocery store Sunday, May 10, 2020, in southeast Denver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Zalubowski
One million chickens euthanized during labour dispute at Quebec slaughterhouse

Premier says waste amounts to 13 per cent of the province’s chicken production thrown in the garbage

A section of the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies is seen west of Cochrane, Alta., Thursday, June 17, 2021. A joint federal-provincial review has denied an application for an open-pit coal mine in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, saying its impacts on the environment and Indigenous rights aren’t worth the economic benefits it would bring. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Panel says Grassy Mountain coal mine in Alberta Rockies not in public interest

Public hearings on the project in southern Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass region were held last fall

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on Friday, February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
U.S. border restrictions to remain in place until at least July 21

Safety minister says Canada, U.S. extending restrictions on non-essential international travel

Most Read