Canada Accused Toronto financial district killer files appeal behind lawyer’s back

08:16  13 january  2018
08:16  13 january  2018 Source:   National Post

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A woman accused in a high-profile Toronto murder went behind her lawyer ’ s back late last month to file a notice of appeal of a ruling declaring her mentally unfit to stand trial. Rohinie Bisesar, a former financial analyst with an MBA from York University

A woman accused in a high-profile Toronto murder went behind her lawyer ’ s back late last month to file a notice of appeal of a ruling declaring her mentally unfit to stand trial. Rohinie Bisesar, a former financial analyst with an MBA from York University

A woman accused in a high-profile Toronto murder went behind her lawyer’s back late last month to file a notice of appeal of a ruling declaring her mentally unfit to stand trial.

Rohinie Bisesar, a former financial analyst with an MBA from York University, was ordered to undergo a 60-day course of anti-psychotic treatment at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in early December.

A court-appointed psychiatrist testified at that time that Bisesar was acutely schizophrenic, actively delusional and manifestly unable to participate in her own defence. A jury agreed.

Bisesar, however, vocally objected to that diagnosis. She argued that she is not insane. Instead she believes an entity of some kind is speaking to her and controlling her actions through a device implanted in her skin.

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A woman accused in a high-profile Toronto murder went behind her lawyer ’ s back late last month to file a notice of appeal of a ruling declaring her mentally unfit to stand trial. Rohinie Bisesar, a former financial analyst with an MBA from York University

A woman accused in a high-profile Toronto murder went behind her lawyer ’ s back late last month to file a notice of appeal of a ruling declaring her mentally unfit to stand trial. Rohinie Bisesar, a former financial analyst with an MBA from York University

Bisesar tried to fire her lawyer, Robert Karrass, at that hearing. But Ontario Superior Court Justice John McMahon refused her request, ruling that she was not mentally fit to make that choice.

NR.33577.1450361044: Rosemarie Junor.© Toronto Police Handout Rosemarie Junor.

Bisesar stands charged with the first-degree murder of Rosemarie “Kim” Junor, a newlywed who was stabbed to death in 2014 outside a Shoppers Drug Mart in Toronto’s Financial District.

She was set to go to trial this month. But that date was pushed back to next autumn. Even that date is preliminary. Unless and until a new jury declares Bisesar fit, she won’t be tried at all.

Bisesar, however, continues to believe she’s fit now.

She was transferred from jail to CAMH on Dec. 12, according to Karrass. On Dec. 28, with the help of a pro bono legal organization, she filed notice at the Ontario Court of Appeal that she intends to contest the fitness verdict.

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A woman accused in a high-profile Toronto murder went behind her lawyer ’ s back late last month to file a notice of appeal of a ruling declaring her mentally unfit to stand trial.

A woman accused in a high-profile Toronto murder went behind her lawyer ’ s back late last month to file a notice of appeal of a ruling declaring her mentally unfit to stand trial. Rohinie Bisesar, a former financial analyst with an MBA from York University

She did so without the assistance or knowledge of Karrass, according to Karrass himself.

“I didn’t advise her during this filing process,” he said. “It was done actually without my knowledge. I found out about it afterwards. Since then I’ve brought myself up to speed on what’s going on and spoken to this pro bono group.”

Bisesar argues in the Inmate Notice of Appeal that she can “do all legal things for fit” and that the jury’s verdict “was unreasonable (and) not supported by evidence.”

She calls the drugs she’s being forced to take “damaging.” She also objects to the fact that she has had no physical testing done that could find and remove the entity she believes is responsible for her troubles.

Karrass does not believe the appeal will or should interrupt Bisesar’s treatment. She appealed the fitness ruling, not the treatment order. Had she done the latter, CAMH probably would have had to halt treatment immediately pending a hearing, Karrass said.

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A woman accused in a high-profile Toronto murder went behind her lawyer ’ s back late last month to file a notice of appeal of a ruling declaring her mentally unfit to stand trial. Rohinie Bisesar, a former financial analyst with an MBA from York University

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As it stands, her first hearing on the fitness appeal won’t likely occur until well after the treatment order has expired in early February.

That said, Karrass remains unimpressed by the process to date.

Rohine-Bisesar: Rohinie Bisesar's © Toronto Police Service Rohinie Bisesar's "wanted" image shared by Toronto police.

“This is a pretty high-profile case,” he said. “It’s not easy find Rohinie’s name without finding the name of her lawyer. So I would say it was probably incumbent on whoever assisted her to give me a call and let me know that this was happening.”

Karrass said he found out about the appeal from a Crown attorney, who was told by a CAMH lawyer. He met with Bisesar on Monday.

“I don’t think it was handled appropriately,” he said. ““But at the same time, to say that there was anything in particular that I could beat my chest about and get upset over, I don’t think it helps anything.”

Bisesar’s notice of appeal cites a letter to Paul Jones, who works with what is now known as the Pro Bono Inmate Appeal Program. Erika Chozik, the vice-chairperson for the organization, said she couldn’t comment on Bisesar’s case specifically.

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Her organization helps self-represented defendants prepare and present appeals. She pointed out that it’s not unusual for an inmate to switch lawyers between trial and appeal.

Erin Dann, an experienced appeal lawyer in Toronto, is also cited in the documents, according to Karrass. She did not respond to a request for comment by deadline Thursday.

Karrass said that, given Bisesar’s mental state and his status as her attorney, it would have been “absolutely inappropriate and contrary to the rules of professional conduct, for another lawyer” to have given her legal advice.

That said, the conversation that I had with the people from this organization is they claim they didn’t provide legal advice, they provided simply the forms, which in my opinion is still providing legal advice,” he said. “But I’m not going to file a law society complaint over ‘here’s the form, enjoy.’”

• Email: rwarnica@nationalpost.com | Twitter: richardwarnica

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