5 December 2023

Case of alleged ANU attempted murderer heading towards mental impairment issue

| Albert McKnight
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Alex Leonard Ophel was taken into custody after the attack at the ANU. Photo: YouTube.

The case of the alleged attempted murderer at the Australian National University (ANU) is heading towards an issue around mental impairment, a court has heard.

Alex Leonard Ophel is accused of stabbing two women and assaulting two men at the university on 18 September 2023.

The court has previously heard he was undertaking a mental health assessment before the matter returned to the ACT Magistrates Court on Tuesday (5 December).

His lawyer, Tim Sharman from Tim Sharman Solicitors, said he was still making steps to such an assessment and wanted an adjournment to the new year so he could indicate what stage the case would be at.

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Special Magistrate Rebecca Christensen asked if it was heading towards a fitness to plead or a mental impairment issue and Mr Sharman confirmed it was heading towards the latter.

He also said the case would ultimately be sent to the Supreme Court.

young woman pointing at rainbow

Bachelor of Arts student Ilysha Perry was seriously injured in the 2023 attack at the ANU. Photo: Facebook.

The matter was adjourned until 15 January 2024 for a mention and Ophel was excused from attending unless he was required.

He is being held in custody as he has not made a bail application.

ACT Policing has alleged that at about 2:45 pm on 18 September, a man had gone to the grounds of the ANU and attacked four students.

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It is alleged he repeatedly stabbed two 20-year-old women with a knife and assaulted two male students, aged 34 and 19, with a frypan or by punching them in the face.

One of the women was left with critical injuries and both were taken to hospital. The women left the facility by October.

Bachelor of Arts student Ilysha Perry was left seriously injured in the attack. Her mother, Fiona Coffrey, later told media that while she will hopefully recover, “she’ll never be the same”.

Ophel has been charged with two counts of attempted murder, two counts of assault and a single count of possessing an object with the intent to cause harm. No pleas have been entered.

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