Accused feces thrower's bail hearing in Toronto adjourned until next month
Defence lawyer says client 'shocked by the allegations'
The man accused of throwing buckets of feces on five people in downtown Toronto made his first appearance in court Wednesday, and the matter has been adjourned until next month.
Samuel Opoku, 23, walked into a packed courtroom wearing a blue denim shirt and grey pants at around 2:30 p.m. ET, more than four hours after his scheduled hearing time.
The bail hearing lasted about 10 minutes, and Opoku was hunched over with his head hanging down, staring at the floor for most of it.
At the end, he listened intently as he received instructions from his defence lawyer Jordan Weisz, who said, "He was in shock. I think that's probably a fair characterization."
The defence asked to adjourn the bail hearing until Dec. 3, and the judge complied. Opoku will remain in custody until then.
Due to a publication ban, Weisz was not able to comment on why the matter was postponed. But he did say that Opoku understands the nature of the proceedings, and there's no fitness concerns at all.
"He's shocked by the allegations and overwhelmed by the intense scrutiny that this has attracted," Weisz said.
Opoku was arrested near Queen Street West and Spadina Avenue on Tuesday evening after allegedly throwing multiple buckets of liquefied fecal matter on people over the past few days.
Almost 50 people, including many students from the University of Toronto and other schools, showed up for Opoku's first court appearance at Old City Hall in downtown.
"I wanted to see what he had to say for himself," said University of Toronto student Advait Sridhar.
At first, many people were unable to fit into the small bail courtroom. The proceedings then moved to a larger room to hold the crowd.
'Sense of fear' on campus
Police say a man threw feces on people inside libraries at both the University of Toronto and York University over the past week.
In the most recent attack, a man threw feces from a bucket over a woman near College and McCaul streets Monday night, police said.
When university student Michael Ding first heard the news, he felt a mixture of disgust, shock and being "weirded out." But it was the second and third incidents that really got to him.
"I could feel like there was this sense of fear that's spreading around campus," said Ding at the courthouse. It was all anyone was talking about online and among his friends, he said.
Kevin Zhang said there were a lot of rumours about the person throwing feces. Some people were "really concerned," he said, while others downplayed the situation by laughing at it.
Sridhar called the incident "pretty disgusting."
"I'm horrified that it happened at a place where we study and eat and talk," said Sridhar.
A crowd of people - many of them University students - are gathered to see Samuel Opoku here at Old City Hall courthouse.—@McGillivrayKate
One tells me she was worried there would be an attack at Ryerson, another showed me memes students have made about the incidents.—@McGillivrayKate
U of T student Linjia Nhou wasn't surprised to see so many other students at the courthouse — it's what everyone was talking about in class, she said.
Some people woke up early to come to the court proceeding, said Reedah Hayder, a Ryerson University student.
After the hearing, Weisz was asked if Opoku understood that he has instilled fear in students.
"I think he understands that the allegations are troubling," Weisz said. "But I don't think it's fair to characterize it as he is instilling fear in people."
Opoku is facing five charges of assault with a weapon and five charges of mischief interfering with property, police said.
"Hopefully, the students who were impacted by this get the justice they deserve," said Ryerson student Jessica Mazze.
With files from Kate McGillivray and Muriel Draaisma