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

Nanaimo man hit with six-foot pole in dispute over off-leash dog

RCMP say no charges recommended at this time

Young musicians to gather in Nanaimo for West Coast Youth Fiddle Summit

Fiddlers from B.C., Alberta and the Yukon to participate in second annual event

UPDATE: Stolen utility vehicle returned to Ladysmith Motorsports

The 2020 Maverick Trail side by side was found abandoned on Spruston Road in Cassidy

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Incentivize safer driving

We are effectively just socializing the cost of road accidents here, says letter writer

Lantzville opts against forming social media committee

Committee would have helped district council develop policy on social media behaviour

VIDEO: Feds look to help 126 Canadians quarantined in China for coronavirus

China has confirmed more than 4,500 cases of the new virus, with more than 100 deaths

Sap thief taps Saanich park maple trees, faces hefty fine

One tree found with four taps in Mount Doug Park

Was there a tornado on Vancouver Island Monday?

Suspected phone app glitch gives eerie warning

Work has started on Malahat Skywalk, expected completion in 2021

$15-million project expected to open in spring, 2021

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Uber threatens legal action to ‘defend its right’ to operate in Surrey

‘I have no concerns,’ Mayor Doug McCallum replies

Victoria resident says WestJet employee uttered racist comment, refused to let her on plane

Customer claims she was told ‘You guys can’t handle your alcohol’ by WestJet employee

Bystander who tried to help dog being attacked not liable for its death: B.C. tribunal

Owner of dog killed tried to get $5,000 in damages from man who tried to save it

INFOGRAPHIC: See how fast your B.C. city grew in 2019

The province’s fastest-growing municipalities were located on Vancouver Island

Most Read