Man who burned woman on Toronto bus 'suffering from mental illness', not criminally responsible - Toronto | Globalnews.ca

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Man found after killing woman on fire on Toronto bus No criminal responsibilityThe judge ruled he was “in a state of mental illness” and unable to distinguish right from wrong.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys agree Tenzin Norbuthis In June 2022, a Toronto man set a stranger on fire on a TTC buswas not guilty of first-degree murder due to mental illness.

The judge agreed with them in his ruling on Tuesday.

“On the balance of probabilities, I am convinced that Mr. Knob was mentally ill at the time of the offending,” Judge Maureen Forrestal wrote.

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“His mental illness prevented him from making a rational choice when he killed Ms. (Nyima) Dolma. Due to his psychotic symptoms, he was unable to distinguish right from wrong.”

Dr. Alina Joseph, the forensic psychiatrist who evaluated Knob, testified Monday that he was suffering from schizophrenia when he set fire to Doma at Kipling Station in Toronto's west end on June 17, 2022. Joseph told Forrestal that Knob was unable to recognize that his actions were morally wrong.

As the two were riding a TTC bus, Norbu poured lighter fluid on Doma and set her on fire.

Doma was “engulfed in flames” and ran from the bus.


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Despite the best efforts of bystanders, emergency workers and medical staff, Doma did not survive the attack and died in hospital 18 days later.

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She suffered burns over approximately 60% of her body and inhalation injuries.

“It is clear from the evidence before me that Mr. Knob was suffering from a mental illness, namely schizophrenia, at the time of the crimes,” Forrestal wrote.

Norbu also suffers from substance abuse disorders, including alcohol and marijuana. Forrestal said marijuana “exacerbated” Norbu's symptoms but was not the primary cause of them.

“Even after his arrest and detention, and even after he stopped using any medications, his psychotic symptoms persisted,” Forrestal noted.

“Although the diagnosis of schizophrenia was recent, Dr. Joseph’s testimony and the records she reviewed support the conclusion that Mr. Knob had been experiencing symptoms of the disorder for many years.”

Forrestal said Nob had been undiagnosed for a variety of reasons and had been treated for depression but had “taken medication intermittently as directed.”

“This prevents accurate assessment of whether treatment is working and whether the diagnosis of depression is correct,” Forrestal said.

Nima Zhuoma, 28, died in hospital on July 5, 2022.

Toronto Police Photo

Nob also tried conventional medical treatment, but that could interfere with the effectiveness of prescription medications, Forrestal said.

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Records reviewed by Joseph show that Norbu “suffered from a long history of paranoid delusions,” Forrestal wrote, including that he believed members of the Tibetan community hated him and said bad things about him.

He also had a “long-standing focus on arson.”

“Mr. Knob’s actions on June 17, 2022, were the result of a long history of delusion and confusion,” Forrestal wrote.

“At the time of the crime he was under the delusion that Ms Dolma was filming him or had seen his video. This was based on his delusion about the Tibetan community.”

Before setting her on fire, Norbu asked her if she was Tibetan, to which she replied “yes” in Tibetan.

“He believed that Ms. Dormer, although she only said 'yes,' made a long speech to belittle him … which was likely an auditory hallucination,” Forrestal said.

Forrestal said that after his arrest, he “behaved strangely” during police questioning, slurring his words, laughing, crying and making high-pitched noises.

Forrestal said Knob will be returned to the Ontario Review Board in the coming weeks for a preliminary disposition hearing.

The board will make its decision after hearing the evidence, particularly about the risks posed by Nob.

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“The board must keep the safety of the public as its primary consideration,” Forrestal noted.

“Consideration must also be given to the defendant’s mental condition, the defendant’s reintegration into society, and the defendant’s other needs.”

The board will decide which hospital Knob will be held at and what privileges, if any, he will have, Forrestal wrote.

Forrestal noted that under the Criminal Code, Nob cannot be released unconditionally unless the board determines that he no longer poses a significant threat to the public.

Ms Forrestal said victim impact statements were “not a relevant consideration in determining criminal responsibility” and she did not take them into account in sentencing. But she said that was not because she was “in any way minimising the impact of this tragic death”.

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Forrestal said the Ontario review board is likely to consider the impact on the victims when deciding Knob's disposition.

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