Toronto woman convicted on terror-related charges says she now disagrees with facts of case
TORONTO – A Toronto woman found guilty of terror charges after an attack at a Canadian Tire says she now disagrees with the previously agreed-upon facts of her case for religious reasons, leaving the prosecution working to figure out how to proceed.
Rehab Dughmosh appeared in a Toronto court on Friday where the judge who will determine her sentence was hoping to get an update on her medical records from her time in jail and learn whether she was accepting treatment for her mental illness, which a psychiatrist has said is likely schizophrenia.
Dughmosh said she disagreed with “most” of the psychiatric assessments that say she has delusions and paranoid thoughts, noting specifically she disagreed with the schizophrenia diagnosis.
Then, as the Crown and Justice Maureen Forestell discussed admitting her medical records so that the judge could consider them before sentencing, Dughmosh interrupted the proceedings through her Arabic interpreter.
“She is withdrawing her agreement on the statement of facts,” the interpreter told the court.
Forestell told Dughmosh that she had admitted those facts before the jury that had found her guilty last week.
“The jury returned a verdict based on your admission of the facts and so I don’t know – I’m not sure there’s much I can do at this point,” Forestell said.
Jurors deliberated for just an hour after a trial where the agreed statement of facts was the only evidence presented to them, with Dughmosh largely declining to participate in the proceedings. She is not represented by a lawyer.
“Are you telling me the admission before the jury was not true?” Forestell asked.
“No, it was of course true,” Dughmosh said.
“I want to verify I’m not admitting the facts for religious reasons.”
She repeated her statement that she had earlier given false information to a psychiatrist who evaluated her. The Crown has said the psychiatric assessments have “problematic findings,” but that Dughmosh had a mental illness at the time of the attack. She was found fit to stand trial.
Dughmosh was found guilty of four counts of terrorism-related charges after attacking workers in June 2017 at an east Toronto Canadian Tire store with a golf club and butcher’s knife while draped in an ISIL banner.
The agreed statement of said Dughmosh built an arsenal of makeshift weapons but her estranged husband confiscated them at the last minute and she was forced to change her plans.
She went to Canadian Tire intending to purchase more weapons but discovered she hadn’t brought her wallet, causing her to change course again and carry out the attack in the store with a golf club she found in the sporting goods section and a butcher knife she had smuggled under her robe, it said.
Following Friday’s developments, the judge gave the Crown and Dughmosh time to figure out how to proceed before the case reconvenes next week.
© 2019 The Canadian Press