Court Sends Alleged Copland Attacker for Mental Health Assessment

Eliza Croft & Skanda Panditharatne

Content Warning: this article contains detailed descriptions of violence

An ANU student, Alex Ophel, faced court this morning following yesterday’s baseball bat attack at Copland. Four people injured in the attack are recovering. The alleged attacker has been referred for a mental health assessment.

On Friday at about 9:15am, the 18-year-old allegedly stood up at the back of a statistics tutorial in Copland G032 and approached the tutor with a baseball bat. Students attempted to restrain Ophel, with one student eventually managing to take away the bat. Three students were injured, as well as the tutor, suffering broken bones amongst other injuries. Campus security then detained Ophel until police arrived.

The alleged attacker appeared at the ACT Magistrates Court this morning facing six charges. These included three of assault causing actual bodily harm, two of intentionally inflicting grievous bodily harm and one of common assault. The Canberra Times reported that he was referred for a mental health assessment after his lawyers requested the case be dealt with under Section 309 of the Mental Health Act. Ophel has already undergone an initial forensic mental health assessment after his arrest yesterday. After the hearing, he was transported to a mental health facility for further assessment and care.

Of the four injured, two had been released from hospital by Friday night, according to an ACT Health spokesperson. The other two remained in a stable condition. The Canberra Times reported that the court heard there were five victims of the attack.

ANU said yesterday it would be “stepping up security” for today’s Open Day. Police and the University have commended the bravery of the students who tried to stop the attack.


Updated to include the name of the man charged.