Jason Pover, Taz Hudson and Jessica Whiting
CW: Disturbing Violence, Sexual Assault, References to Terrorist Acts, Mental Illness.
The trial of Alex Ophel, who allegedly attacked students and a staff member in a tutorial with a baseball bat in August 2017, commenced today. Ophel pled not guilty to all five charges due to mental impairment.
Today the Crown delivered his opening remarks and layed out the evidence that will be delivered in the trial, which is scheduled to take 10 days. All five charges are for attempted murder. However, at least two of the charges for attempted murder can be downgraded to grievous bodily harm. The jury has been handed a document outlining the indictments.
The Crown opened by outlining to the jury the evidence that would be delivered in the trial, some of which is disturbing. The Crown will allege that Ophel had a fascination with school shootings and terrorist activities, built on evidence derived from his online activity, including posts on 4chan and search history containing extremist videos.
The Crown will also be calling a witness in relation to an alleged violent sexual fantasy Ophel had about classmates, and his alleged interest in school shootings The Court also heard that Ophel received an intervention letter from the ANU before the attack in relation to course failures and his academic performance.
Psychiatric evidence will also be delivered. Ophel’s diagnosis for schizophrenia was only made after the alleged attack and prior to this he had no diagnosed mental illness. The Court heard that the Crown will argue that the alleged attack was premeditated, with his alleged psychosis holding no causal relationship with the attack.
The defence is yet to make their opening remarks. The trial will run from 17 September until at least 2 October, and is being held in the Supreme Court.
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