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

Port Hardy called in record number of black bear sightings last year

Conservation Officers attended 74 of the 314 calls made

North Island recreation camping site closed due to vandalism

Ruined picnic tables are the main damage

Port McNeill’s outdoor swimming pool will stay closed this summer

The Town of Port McNeill typically hires 12-13 staff for the pool every year.

Bird contacting wires causes massive Port Hardy power outage

The power outage started at 1:18 p.m. and lasted until 3:00 p.m.

Port Hardy Salvation Army serving lunch daily during pandemic

Centre is closed to the public, but overnight shelter, daily lunch and one-on-one services available

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

Vancouver Island First Nations gather to remember woman fatally shot by police

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council requests an independent investigation

Cortes Island affordable housing project hangs by a thread

Regional decision makers resort to COVID-19 concerns despite virtual meeting option and push hearing to September

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

Man found dead in his tent at Island homeless camp

Facebook posts tell of personal struggles and attempts to stay clean and sober

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Most Read