Samuel Opoku, left, his lawyer Jordan Weisz, Justice Cathy Mochain and Crown councel Michael Lockner are seen during an appearance in a courtroom sketch in Toronto, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019. Opoku is charged with five counts of assault with a weapon and five counts of mischief. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould

‘It was getting terrifying:’ Toronto students attend hearing for alleged feces-thrower

The case had to be moved to a larger courtroom to accommodate throngs of onlookers

Dozens of university students crowded a Toronto courthouse Wednesday as a man accused of dumping liquefied feces on strangers at two campus libraries and a downtown sidewalk had his bail hearing adjourned until next week.

Samuel Opoku, 23, made a brief appearance to face five counts each of assault with a weapon and mischief related to three alleged attacks, spending much of the time hunched in the prisoner’s box and looking straight down.

The case had to be moved to a larger courtroom to accommodate throngs of onlookers — many of them students — who blocked a courthouse hallway as they vied for one of the few seats in the room where bail hearings usually take place.

“There were students from Ryerson, from U of T, York. It was interesting how we kind of united on this,” said Ruth Masuka, a second-year U of T student who waited upwards of four hours for Opoku to appear.

The students bonded over the fear that they might have been the next victim, she said, noting that tensions were already high due to impending exams.

“Every space is unsafe. It was a very public setting,” Masuka said. “It’s just a recipe for a scary energy.”

ALSO READ: B.C. woman recounts ‘feces falling from the sky’

Felipe Santos, a recent grad who still spends a lot of time on the University of Toronto campus that was the scene of one attack, said most people who turned up for the hearing were “morbidly curious.”

“I felt a bit of the fear that everybody felt, so I was here out of curiosity of what would bring somebody to do this kind of thing,” said Santos.

Toronto police allege a man wearing a yellow construction hat threw liquefied fecal matter on a woman and a young person on Friday at U of T’s John P. Robarts Research Library.

The same suspect is believed to have attacked a man and a woman at York University’s Scott Library on Sunday, and a woman at a downtown intersection near U of T on Monday night.

Outside court, Opoku’s lawyer Jordan Weisz noted there was little he could share due to a publication ban protecting information presented during a bail hearing, but said he understands the degree of interest in the case.

“As things progress, I’ll certainly be prepared and willing to provide information to the public, who understandably is concerned and interested to get the full story,” he said. ”Obviously the public doesn’t have the full story at this point.”

Asked whether his client had any underlying mental health issues, Weisz noted “the nature of the allegations suggests that,” but declined to provide more details other than to say Opoku was shocked by the allegations against him.

“He was in shock, I think that’s probably a fair characterization,” he said. ”Understandably, to say the least, it’s not a pleasant situation to be sitting in a courtroom with the public scrutiny that he’s currently having to endure.”

Nicole Thompson , The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta RCMP provides update on detachment services amidst COVID-19 spread

There has been no change to the Alberta RCMP’s response to critical and emergency matters

TC Energy enlists Alberta to help finish US$8-billion Keystone XL project

Alberta government has agreed toinvest about US$1.1 billion (C$1.5 billion) as equity in the project

Investor alert: ASC warns public about work from home scams during COVID-19 crisis

The ASC is also warning investors about companies claiming to have products that prevent, detect or cure COVID-19

The Stettler Board of Trade has launched the Business Resources Support Form

The form will assess assets and measure the needs of businesses resulting from emergency restrictions and regulations

A Message From the Publisher – ‘We will do our best, but without local advertising revenue, The Stettler Independent cannot survive’

‘We will do our best, but without local advertising revenue, The Stettler Independent cannot survive’

Hope floats: Alberta town ravaged by flood rolls out parade float for COVID-19

Hope floats: Alberta town ravaged by flood rolls out parade float for COVID-19

Transparency on COVID-19 response crucial: former public safety minister Goodale

Transparency on COVID-19 response crucial: former public safety minister Goodale

COVID-19 silver lining: experts predict innovation in medicine, education, remote work

COVID-19 silver lining: experts predict innovation in medicine, education, remote work

A message from Central Alberta Co-op

Please remember to practice social distancing at all our locations.

Governments looking at longer-term measures to slow COVID-19 spread

Governments looking at longer-term measures to slow COVID-19 spread

Officials warn of COVID-19’s potential impacts on vulnerable populations

Officials warn of COVID-19’s potential impacts on vulnerable populations

‘What are the chances?’ Youth worker one of Alberta’s latest COVID-19 victims

‘What are the chances?’ Youth worker one of Alberta’s latest COVID-19 victims

More masks, ventilators on the way as industrial response to COVID-19 ramps up

More masks, ventilators on the way as industrial response to COVID-19 ramps up

Most Read