The case of a woman accused of murder in a stabbing at a Toronto drugstore will return to court next month, when a date will be set for a hearing to determine her fitness to stand trial, a court heard Wednesday.
Rohinie Bisesar was recently declared fit to stand trial by authorities overseeing her treatment, but a jury still has to make its own ruling about her mental state before her case proceeds.
A date for that jury hearing will be set when the case returns to court on Sept. 5.
Bisesar is charged with first-degree murder in the 2015 death of 28-year-old Rosemarie Junor at a Shoppers Drug Mart in an underground concourse in Toronto’s financial district.
A jury previously found Bisesar unfit to stand trial due to a mental disorder. A forensic psychiatrist testified last year that she was “acutely unwell” and suffered from delusions and hallucinations.
Once a person has been found unfit to stand trial, they are placed under the authority of the Ontario Review Board, a panel made up of mental health and legal specialists that determines the course of treatment for those in the justice system.
The review board released a formal ruling on Monday that said Bisesar was fit to stand trial and ordered her back to court for it to make its own determination.
Robert Karrass, Bisesar’s lawyer, said if a jury finds his client fit, her trial is set to begin in late October.
He said his client is now “markedly better” than at her previous fitness hearing in December.
A fitness ruling pertains to the person’s mental state at the time of their court proceedings, and is separate from a ruling on a person’s criminal responsibility for their actions, which is based on their mental state at the time the alleged crime was committed.
A person could be declared fit to stand trial by the review board, but still be found not criminally responsible — a designation that acknowledges a person committed a crime but that, due to mental disorder, they were incapable at the time of appreciating that their actions could cause harm, or were unacceptable by societal standards.
At the time of Bisesar’s arrest in 2015, Toronto police said they believed she attacked Junor “without provocation.”
Junor, a newlywed medical technician who worked near the drugstore, was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries and died five days after the incident.