Ottawa

Witness to random hammer attack testifies as trial begins

A man accused of hitting a stranger on the head with a hammer and blinding him in one eye is now on trial for aggravated assault.

Jeffrey Weber facing aggravated assault charge after December 2014 attack on Somerset Street W.

Nabute Ghebrehiwet was attacked with a hammer and blinded in his left eye on Dec. 9, 2014. (CBC)

A man accused of hitting a stranger on the head with a hammer and blinding him in one eye is now on trial for aggravated assault.

Nabute Ghebrehiwet was going for his nightly walk on Somerset Street W. near Bank Street the evening of Dec. 9, 2014 when someone snuck up on him and hit him with a hammer, leaving him blind in his left eye.

A few days later, police arrested Jeffrey Weber, who was 31 at the time, under the Mental Health Act.

He is facing aggravated assault and possession of a dangerous weapon charges.

Ghebrehiwet told the CBC's Simon Gardner Monday he still wants to know why this happened to him.

He said he's looking for a new job after the end of his contract with the Canada Revenue Agency.

Witness testifies

The trial is expected to last two weeks at the Ottawa courthouse.

As it began on Monday, the judge heard Weber needs constant medication not to hallucinate.

Hoda Ali, a Carleton University student who saw the attack, testified Weber was saying "I'm going to get you n--gers, all you n--gers come here, this is what you do" at the time.

The start of the trial was delayed about an hour Monday morning when nobody remembered to bring Weber to court.