Alleged Copland Attacker Denied Bail

The ACT Magistrate's Court

Content warning: this article contains descriptions of violence.

Alex Ophel, who allegedly attacked students and a staff member with a baseball bat in August, was refused bail by the ACT Magistrate’s Court in December.

Ophel, an ANU student at the time, has been charged with attempted murder, inflicting grievous bodily harm, and several other lower-level offences. It is alleged that in August of last year, he approached a tutor during a statistics class in the Copland building wielding a baseball bat. A number of students intervened, and three students and the staff member were taken to hospital with serious injuries. In the weeks leading up to the alleged attack, Ophel posted a series of disturbing videos, as well as a Facebook post saying, “my actions have no other motive, whether that be racial, genderwise or other [sic].”

According to The Canberra Times, Ophel’s lawyers applied to have him released to Brian Hennessy House, a mental health facility, claiming he would receive better treatment there. Special Magistrate Margaret Hunter refused this application, reportedly saying that since Ophel is charged with attempted murder, there would need to be exceptional circumstances to grant bail.

Ophel has been committed for trial in the ACT Supreme Court. His case is scheduled for March.

Content warning: The linked Canberra Times article contains graphic descriptions of violence and mention of sexual assault.