A man with a history of attacking strangers on TTC property “presents a danger to the public” if he doesn’t take his antipsychotic medication, a judge said this month as courts increasingly point to the urgent need for more housing and mental health services to deal with random assaults.
Ontario Court Justice Hafeez Amarshi sentenced Nigel White to jail for yet another series of assaults at a subway station this year. Amid a number of seemingly random attacks on Toronto public transit, Amarshi’s ruling lays bare the limitations of the criminal justice system in dealing with the problem.
The rising number of incidents on the TTC is the result of a system that is failing to cope due to a lack of resources, said community psychiatrist Dr. Samuel Law with St. Michael’s Hospital, noting the need for better followup for individuals leaving jails with mental health issues.
“Just having more cops on the TTC is not going to solve this; it’s actually much harder,” he said. “It’s the bigger work of building our community infrastructure and treating this more seriously.”