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Man who set woman ablaze on Toronto bus found not criminally responsible

WARNING: Story contains graphic details which some readers may find disturbing. Discretion is advised.

A man who killed a woman by setting her on fire onboard a Toronto transit bus has been found not criminally responsible, with a judge ruling that he was “actively psychotic” at the time and incapable of distinguishing right from wrong.

Both Crown prosecutors and defence lawyers had agreed that Tenzin Norbu, the Toronto man who set a stranger on fire on a TTC bus in June 2022, is not guilty of first-degree murder due to a mental illness.

The judge agreed with them in a verdict on Tuesday.

“I am satisfied on a balance of probabilities that Mr. Norbu was actively psychotic at the time of the offence,” Justice Maureen Forestell wrote.

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“His psychosis rendered him incapable of accessing rational choice at the time that he killed Ms. (Nyima) Dolma. He was unable to distinguish right from wrong as a result of his psychotic symptoms.”

Click to play video: 'Toronto man appears in court after attack on TTC passenger'

Toronto man appears in court after attack on TTC passenger

Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Alina Iosif, who assessed Norbu, testified Monday that he was suffering from schizophrenia when he set Dolma on fire on June 17, 2022, at Kipling Station in Toronto’s west end.

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Norbu had poured lighter fluid onto Dolma and set her ablaze when they were both on a TTC bus.

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

Despite the efforts of bystanders, first responders and medical professionals, Dolma didn’t survive the attack, dying 18 days later in hospital.

She suffered burns to around 60 per cent of her body, along with an inhalation injury.

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Forestell said Norbu will be remanded to the Ontario Review Board for an initial disposition hearing in the coming weeks.

The board will decide what hospital Norbu will be detained at and what privileges, if any, he will have, Forestell wrote.

Forestell noted that under the Criminal Code, Norbu cannot be released unconditionally unless the board concludes that he is no longer a significant threat to the public.

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