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Verdict expected Tuesday in trial for fatal PATH stabbing at Shoppers Drug Mart

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A decision is expected Tuesday in the case of a woman who, the Crown and defence agree, was not criminally responsible for fatally stabbing 28-year-old Rosemarie Junor in a Shoppers Drug Mart.

In the brief trial last week, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Ian Swayze testified Rohinie Bisesar, 43, was in a state of severe psychosis, experiencing hallucinations, delusions and disorganized thinking when she bought a knife from a Dollar Store and stabbed Junor in the heart on Dec. 11, 2015.

Junor was a “victim of (Bisesar’s) illness,” Swayze testified. He said the horrible tragedy for everyone involved would not have happened if Bisesar had been in treatment.

He diagnosed Bisesar with schizophrenia, suffering from fixed beliefs that external forces had placed an implant or device into her body and were controlling her movements.

Junor, a newlywed ultrasound technician, had popped into the drugstore in the underground PATH system on an afternoon break, court heard. She was on the phone with a friend when, according to an agreed statement of facts read in court, Bisesar walked up to her and stabbed her. Bisesar put the knife on a cosmetics display and left immediately.

The women were complete strangers to each other, court heard.

According to Swayze’s report, made in a court exhibit, Bisesar told Swayze that on the day of the incident, she heard the voice in her head say: “what is the worst thing you can do.”

She said the voice commanded her to buy a knife. “The voices, communication and movements made me sit up, turn, walk straight into the Shoppers fast… I was not an agreeable participant.”

She said she approached Junor without hesitation. “The voice said, if you mean to do it, do it,” she told Swayze. “The voice and movements raised my hand, pushed forward…it was like the knife was sticking to my hand and couldn’t be dropped.”

Junor was rushed to the hospital, but died four days later.

Junor’s death has been “unbearable” for the close-knit family, her cousin Denise Sagar wrote in a statement given to reporters Friday. Sagar said Junor dedicated her life “to the care and treatment of people who are ill.” Sagar said her worry is what happens should Bisesar stop taking her medication again in the future.

“I hope my fears are unfounded,” she wrote. “I don’t know which is worse, the loss of my cousin or my fear that another family will suffer the loss of a loved one because someone simply decides to stop taking their medication.”

The case has taken nearly three years to conclude because Bisesar was repeatedly assessed and eventually found unfit to stand trial in December 2017 because her continued delusions impaired her ability to instruct her lawyer. She consistently refused treatment for a mental illness, instead claiming there was an implant in her body controlling her, which should be a matter of national security. She also suggested she did not believe Junor was dead, but rather hiding.

After her arrest Bisesar was held at the Vanier jail, though she was briefly transferred to hospitals on four occasions out of concern for her declining physical condition, including weight loss and facial lesions from her picking at her face. She was forced to receive treatment after being found unfit to stand trial. Her symptoms are now almost entirely in remission, Swayze testified at her fitness hearing last week after which a jury found her fit to stand trial. She is now consenting to treatment, he said.

Bisesar’s lawyer Robert Karrass argued in his closing address that she should be found not criminally responsible because, while she committed the physical act, her ability to think rationally was so impaired by her mental disorder at the time that she did not know what she was doing was legally and morally wrong.

If she is found not criminally responsible, Bisesar would be sent to a forensic hospital for an indefinite period of time.

Swayze’s report recommends Bisesar continue to be held at the women’s secure unit at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health where she is responding well to treatment and has been granted staff-accompanied community passes.

Bisesar’s release would be controlled by the Ontario Review Board, a five-person panel usually including psychiatrists, a lawyer and a member of the public.

In annual hearings they determine whether individuals found not criminally responsible (NCR) should continue to be detained in the hospital, given a conditional discharge which could allow the person to live in the community while subject to certain requirements, or an absolute discharge which is a full release with no further supervision.

A detention order is not intended as a punishment, like a prison sentence.

Instead the paramount concern of the Board is whether the person poses a significant risk to the safety of the public, said mental health lawyer Anita Szigeti who is not involved in the case.

“Just because someone is found NCR doesn’t mean they are in any way dangerous,” she said. If the person is found to be a significant risk, the board will consider other factors — most importantly the protection of public from dangerous persons, as well as the re-integration of the person into society and the liberty interests of the person.

They have to choose the “least onerous, least restrictive” disposition possible, she said. “They can’t take away more liberty than is neccesary.”

However, it is definitely not a “get-out of jail free card,” she said. “The ramification of coming under the review board’s jurisdiction is potentially indefinite detention in a maximum secure psychiatric facility setting, some of these facilities are very similar in their layout and security to high-security prisons.”

Victims can make victim impact statements at the annual Ontario Review Board hearings, Szigeti said. However, that process — which is often emotional and difficult for both the victims and the person found NCR — can give victims the “unfair and wrong impression” that their statements can influence the board’s decision, Szigeti says.

Unlike in a sentencing hearing, the statements do not have any impact on the decision the board makes which is based on the person’s current level of risk to public safety, she said.

Alyshah Hasham is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime and court. Follow her on Twitter: @alysanmati

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Anglais

Nostalgia and much more with Starburst XXXtreme

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Get a taste of adventure with Starburst XXXtreme based on the legendary NetEnt Game. The nostalgic themes are sure to capture fans of the classic version as they get treated to higher intensity, better visuals, and features. The most significant element of the game is its volatility. Patience will not be an essential virtue considering the insane gameplay, and there is a lot of win potential involved. It retains the original makeup of the previous game while adding a healthy dose of adrenaline. 

Starburst Visuals and Symbols

The game is definitely more conspicuous than before. The setting happens over a 5-reel, 3-row game grid with nine fixed win lines, which function if a succession from the left to the right reel is present. Only those players that that attain the highest win per bet line are paid. From a visual standpoint, the Starburst XXXtreme slots illustrates lightning effects behind the reels, which is not surprising as it is inherited from the original version. Available themes include Classic, Jewels, and Space. The game is also available in both desktop and mobile versions, which is advantageous for players considering the global pandemic. According to Techguide, American gamers are increasingly having more engaging gaming experiences to socialize to fill the gap of in-person interaction. Starburst XXXtreme allows them to fill the social void at a time when there is so much time to be had indoors. 

Starburst XXXTreme Features

Players get to alternate on three features which are Starburst Wilds, XXXtreme Spins, and Random Wilds. The first appears on reels 2,3, or 4. When these land, they expand to cover all positions while also calculating the wins. They are also locked for a respin. If a new one hits, it also becomes locked while awarding another respin. Starburst XXXtreme offers a choice between two scenarios for a higher stake. In one scenario with a ten times stake, the Starburst Wild is set on random on reels 2,3, or 4, and a multiplier starts the respin. The second scenario, which has a 95 times stake, starts with two guaranteed starburst wilds on reels 2,3, or 4. it also plays out using respin game sequence and features. The game also increases the potential with the Random Wilds feature to add Starburst Wilds to a vacant reel at the end of a spin. Every Starburst Wild gives a random multiplier with potential wins of x2, x3, x5, x10, x25, x50, x100, or even x150.

The new feature is sure to be a big hit with the gaming market as online gambling has shown significant growth during the lockdown. AdAge indicates the current casino customer base is an estimated one in five Americans, so Starburst XXXtreme’s additional features will achieve considerable popularity. 

What We Think About The Game

The gambling market has continued to diversify post-pandemic, so it is one of the most opportune times to release an online casino-based game. Thankfully Starburst XXXtreme features eye-catching visuals, including the jewels and space themes. These attract audience participation and make the gameplay inviting. The game also has a nostalgic edge. The previous NetEnt iteration featured similar visuals and gameplay, so the audience has some familiarity with it. The producers have revamped this version by tweaking the features to improve the volatility and engagement. 

That is characterized by the potential win cap of 200,000 times the bet. Starburst XXXtreme does not just give betting alternatives for players that want to go big. The increase of multipliers also provides a great experience. If the respins in the previous version were great, knowing that multipliers can go hundreds of times overtakes the game to a new level. 

Players should get excited about this offering. All of the features can be triggered within a single spin. Whether one plays the standard game or takes the XXXtreme spin route, it is possible to activate all of the features. Of course, the potential 200,000 times potential is a huge carrot. However, the bet size is probably going to be restricted and vary depending on the casino. It is also worth pointing out that a malfunction during the gameplay will void all of the payouts and progress. Overall, the game itself has been designed to provide a capped win of 200,000 times the original bet. 

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Anglais

‘We’re back’: Montreal festival promoters happy to return but looking to next year

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In downtown Montreal, it’s festival season.

In the city’s entertainment district, a musical act was conducting a sound check on stage Friday evening — the second day of the French-language version of the renowned Just For Laughs comedy festival. Tickets for many of the festival’s free outdoor shows — limited by COVID-19 regulations — were sold out.

Two blocks away, more than 100 people were watching an acoustic performance by the Isaac Neto Trio — part of the last weekend of the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique, a celebration of music from the African continent and the African diaspora.

With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to limit capacity, festival organizers say they’re glad to be back but looking forward to next year when they hope border restrictions and capacity limits won’t affect their plans.

Charles Décarie, Just For Laughs’ CEO and president, said this is a “transition year.”

“Even though we have major constraints from the public health group in Montreal, we’ve managed to design a festival that can navigate through those constraints,” Décarie said.

The French-language Juste pour rire festival began on July 15 and is followed by the English-language festival until July 31.

When planning began in February and March, Décarie said, organizers came up with a variety of scenarios for different crowd sizes, ranging from no spectators to 50 per cent of usual capacity.

“You’ve got to build scenarios,” he said. “You do have to plan a little bit more than usual because you have to have alternatives.”

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MELS new major movie studio to be built in Montreal

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MONTREAL — MELS Studios will build a new film studio in Montreal, filling some of the gap in supply to meet the demand of Hollywood productions.

MELS president Martin Carrier said on Friday that MELS 4 studio construction will begin « as soon as possible », either in the fall or winter of next year. The studio could host productions as early as spring 2023.

The total investment for the project is $76 million, with the Quebec government contributing a $25 million loan. The project will create 110 jobs, according to the company.

The TVA Group subsidiary’s project will enable it to stand out « even more » internationally, according to Quebecor president and CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau. In the past, MELS Studios has hosted several major productions, including chapters of the X-Men franchise. The next Transformers movie is shooting this summer in Montreal.

Péladeau insisted that local cultural productions would also benefit from the new facility, adding that the studio ensures foreign revenues and to showcase talent and maintain an industry of Quebec producers.

STUDIO SHORTAGE

The film industry is cramped in Montreal.

According to a report published last May by the Bureau du cinéma et de la télévision du Québec (BCTQ), there is a shortage of nearly 400,000 square feet of studio space.

With the addition of MELS 4, which will be 160,000 square feet, the company is filling part of the gap.

Carrier admitted that he has had to turn down contracts because of the lack of space, representing missed opportunities of « tens of millions of dollars, not only for MELS, but also for the Quebec economy. »

« Montreal’s expertise is in high demand, » said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, who was present at the announcement.

She said she received great testimonials from « Netflix, Disney, HBO and company » during an economic mission to Los Angeles in 2019.

« What stands out is that they love Montreal because of its expertise, knowledge and beauty. We need more space, like MELS 4, » she said.

There is still not enough capacity in Quebec, acknowledged Minister of Finance, the Economy and Innovation Eric Girard.

« It is certain that the government is concerned about fairness and balance, so if other requests come in, we will study them with the same seriousness as we have studied this one, » he said.

Grandé Studios is the second-largest player in the industry. Last May, the company said it had expansion plans that should begin in 2022. Investissement Québec and Bell are minority shareholders in the company.

For its part, MELS will have 400,000 square feet of production space once MELS 4 is completed. The company employs 450 people in Quebec and offers a range of services including studio and equipment rentals, image and sound postproduction, visual effects and a virtual production platform.

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