TORONTO – An Ontario judge has ordered a mental health assessment for a Toronto-area woman facing terror charges in an alleged attack at a Canadian Tire store.
Justice Kimberley Crosbie said Monday that she has reasonable grounds to order the assessment into Rehab Dughmosh’s fitness to stand trial, given the woman’s behaviour at a court appearance earlier this month.
At that court appearance, Dughmosh, 32, responded to multiple questions from the judge by saying people in the courtroom were “infidels.”
“This behaviour has caused me to be concerned about whether she is understanding the nature and object of the proceedings,” Crosbie told the court.
Dughmosh has also previously refused to leave her cell to attend court — and chose not to appear at her hearing Monday — and has claimed that she has said all she needs to in court already.
A correctional officer also told the court earlier this month that Dughmosh generally doesn’t leave her cell to shower, opting to wash in her cell instead.
“This behaviour, involving isolation and withdrawal, is concerning,” Crosbie said.
Crosbie also said, however, that Dughmosh might be pretending not to understand court proceedings.
Last week, a lawyer appointed by the court to assist Dughmosh recommended that she undergo the mental health assessment to see if she is fit to stand trial. A Crown prosecutor agreed with that request.
Court heard that Dughmosh will be transferred to a mental health facility while she undergoes the assessment.
Dughmosh is facing a total of 21 charges, including attempted murder of at least three people for the benefit of or in association with a terrorist group.
Police said she allegedly tried to attack employees at a Canadian Tire in east Toronto with a golf club and a large knife in June.
She was charged with offences that include assault with a weapon and uttering death threats.
The RCMP later added a number of terrorism-related charges in connection with the incident. Dughmosh is also charged with leaving Canada for the purpose of committing a crime, an incident that is alleged to have taken place in April of last year.
Media reports have said Dughmosh pledged her allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group during a previous court appearance.
Dughmosh is due back in court on Sept. 6, when the results of the mental health assessment are expected.