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Suspect in disturbing baseball-bat attack in St. Thomas granted bail

Click to play video: 'Ontario man charged in baseball bat attack' Ontario man charged in baseball bat attack
A Toronto man has been arrested for attacking a complete strangers with a baseball bat in St. Thomas, Ont. Police are investigating the incident as a potential hate crime. Ashley Molnar reports – Dec 9, 2017

The suspect at the centre of a disturbing shopping mall parking lot attack in St. Thomas is apologizing through his lawyer.

Mark Phillips, a Toronto-based lawyer, appeared in court Monday in St. Thomas and was released on $5,000 bail.

The 37-year-old is charged with three counts of assault with a weapon and one count of aggravated assault.

READ MORE: St. Thomas woman describes disturbing baseball-bat assault that hospitalized husband

“My client, Mr. Phillips, wishes to apologize to Sergio Estepa and his family,” said lawyer Steven Skurka while addressing reporters outside the Elgin County Courthouse. “These are good people, fine members of the community. Mr. Phillips wishes Mr. Estepa a speedy and healthy recovery.”

Mark Phillips, the man accused in a baseball bat attack in St. Thomas, leaves the Elgin County Courthouse with his lawyer Steven Sturka. 980 CFPL

The confrontation, caught partly on a camera phone, shows a man getting out of a white BMW brandishing a baseball bat, repeatedly yelling “terrorist” and “ISIS” while a person off-camera can be heard telling him to “stay away.”

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St. Thomas police were called to the scene at around 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 7 and they were able to locate a suspect later that evening in south London with help from London police.

Estepa was at the mall with his wife, Mariuxis Zambrano, their 13-year-old son, and a friend. The 52-year-old was taken to hospital and treated for severe bruising and a cracked rib.

READ MORE: Man arrested in connection with alleged hate crime against Muslim teen on Canada Line

Phillips was released under several conditions on Monday. He must give up his passport to St. Thomas police, is not allowed in Elgin County except for court appearances, and isn’t allowed weapons. His parents will act as his sureties.

“My client Mark Phillips is grateful to be free, is looking forward to his day in court, and the resolution of these charges,” added Skurka.

Phillips is due back in court on Jan. 23.

With files from Jake Jeffrey

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