News

Alleged attacker sent for mental health assessment

The ANU student who allegedly attacked four students in a Copland Building classroom on Friday has been sent for a mental health assessment after a court appearance at the weekend.

Alex Ophel, 18, was charged with a number of offenc​es, which included intentionally inflicting grievous bodily harm and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

It is alleged that Ophel stood up in a statistics class shortly after 9am on Friday and assaulted the lecturer with a baseball bat before other students intervened. Ophel was arrested on Friday with police saying there was no ongoing threat to public safety.

Four people were injured in the attack, including the lecturer. They sustained serious but non-life threatening injuries.

Ophel fronted the ACT Magistrates Court on Saturday, which referred him for a mental health assessment under section 309 of the ACT Crimes Act.

The deputy vice-chancellor, Marnie Hughes-Warrington, commended the ‘remarkable bravery of our students and our staff during this incident’.

‘This was an unusual – a very, very unusual – incident in Canberra. We know one another, we care for one another, and our highest priority is to look after one another,’ she said on Friday.

‘Our thoughts are with, of course, the staff and the students involved in the incident.’