“Hello,” Masih Allahbakshi said in greeting to members of the media in court in St. John’s Tuesday morning. Once a sheriff’s officer removed his handcuffs, he made a gesture towards the cameras with his middle finger and thumb.
“It means something different in my country,” the Iranian MUN student explained of the gesture, which is said to be the equivalent of a thumbs up.
Allahbakhshi, 29, has been in custody since Friday, charged with trying to poison a fellow student by giving him prescription medication. His bail hearing hadn’t finished by the end of the day Tuesday, and will resume this morning.
Evidence presented during a bail hearing is banned from publication.
Allahbakshi was originally arrested last April and charged with attempted murder after he allegedly tried to push the same man over a cliff on Signal Hill while the pair were walking. The two students fell down about 20 feet and the victim received minor injuries. Allahbakhshi was arrested shortly thereafter.
After a seven-day psychiatric assessment, Allahbakhshi was found fit to stand trial on the attempted murder charge. He pleaded not guilty and his trial is scheduled to start Feb. 12.
Police say the poisoning attempt happened four days before the Signal Hill incident.
Allahbakhshi, who is represented by lawyer Ken Mahoney, is a doctorate student in engineering at MUN. He was banned from the physical campus after he was charged last spring, but is still considered to be working towards his PhD at the university.
Until his recent arrest, Allahbakhshi had been abiding by a number of court orders, including that he turn in his passport, adhere to a curfew, and sign in at RNC headquarters multiple times each week.