Man found not criminally responsible for setting woman on fire while on TTC bus

'He's a very sick man, our client,' the man's lawyer said. 'He doesn't belong in a prison. He belongs in a hospital, with the hope that one day he no longer poses a significant threat to society.'

Man found not criminally responsible for setting woman on fire while on TTC bus
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould (left) and Toronto Police Services (right)
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The man who killed a woman by lighting her on fire while on a TTC bus at Kipling Subway Station in 2022 has been found not criminally responsible for his actions due to mental disorder.

Tenzin Norbu, 33, of Toronto, admitted to the killing after he was charged with first-degree murder. The two did not know each other.

Norbu approached Dolma and asked her if she was Tibetan, to which Dolma replied “yes.” Norbu then pulled out a jar of lighter fluid and poured in on Dolma and lit it.

Nyima died of her injuries 18 days after the attack.

Norbu pleaded not guilty on the grounds of his mental state.

“The only issue to be decided in this trial is whether Mr. Norbu has proven on a balance of probabilities that at the time he killed Ms. Dolma he was not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder,” the judge wrote. “In this case, it is not suggested that Mr. Norbu lacked the capacity to appreciate the nature and quality of his act but that his mental disorder made him incapable of appreciating that the act was wrong.”

Norbu was found to have schizophrenia and was incapable of knowing that his actions were wrong. Norbu had delusions that the Tibetan community hated him.

Norbu also abused alcohol and cannabis which exacerbated his symptoms, said Dr. Alina Iosif, saying that the diagnosis was only recently made, City News reports.

“I have concluded based on the undisputed evidence of Dr. Iosif, that Mr. Norbu was not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder when he killed Ms. Dolma,” the judge’s decision reads. “I am satisfied on a balance of probabilities that Mr. Norbu was actively psychotic at the time that he killed Ms. Dolma. He was unable to distinguish right from wrong as a result of his psychotics symptoms.”

Norbu will be sent to the Ontario Review Board for an initial disposition hearing within 45 days from Tuesday. The board will decide on the hospital where he will be detained and any privileges he might receive. He cannot be released unconditionally until the board determines he no longer poses a significant threat to public safety.

“He's a very sick man, our client,” said Norbu's lawyer, Loui Dallas, to the CBC. “He doesn't belong in a prison. He belongs in a hospital, with the hope that one day he no longer poses a significant threat to society.”

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