Man who lit woman on fire aboard Toronto bus not criminally responsible for her death: lawyers

Man who lit woman on fire aboard Toronto bus not criminally responsible for her death: lawyers

The man charged with killing a woman by lighting her on fire on a bus two years ago admitted to causing her death at the outset of his trial in Toronto, but argued he shouldn’t be found criminally responsible due to a Schizophrenia diagnosis.

Led into the courtrooms in handcuffs on Monday morning, Tenzin Norbu pleaded not guilty to the charge of first-degree murder in front of Superior Court Justice Maureen Forestell, set to preside over the matter without a jury. Norbu was arrested and charged with the death of Nyima Dolma in June 2022, shortly after he lit her on fire aboard a bus at Kipling Station in west Toronto.

Dolma and Norbu were complete strangers to one another at the time of the offence. In an interaction that lasted minutes, Norbu asked her if she was Tibetan before dousing her in lighter fluid, the court heard during the Crown’s opening statements. She suffered burns to 60 per cent of her body, covering her face, neck, arms, and legs, the Crown said Monday.

After 18 days in hospital, Dolma died on July 5, 2022. She was 28 years old. At that time, police upgraded Norbu’s charge to first-degree murder.

On Monday, lawyers for Norbu suggested he shouldn’t be found criminally responsible for the death, arguing that a pre-existing psychotic state rendered him incapable of fully understanding his actions.

The court heard from forensic psychiatrist Alina Iosif for the Crown that Norbu, who immigrated to Canada from Tibet in 2008, had been experiencing auditory hallucinations for a decade prior to the offence and had become paranoid in his interactions with others.

More to come… 

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