Four arrested in suspected hate crimes
Richmond brothers accused of beating gay couple in Vancouver; police say another attack may have been driven by homophobia
Vancouver — From Friday's Globe and Mail
Published on Thursday, Jul. 01, 2010 9:52PM EDT
Last updated on Friday, Jul. 02, 2010 10:22AM EDT
Four men were arrested on Canada Day in two separate Vancouver incidents that police described as possible hate crimes.
On June 12, David Holtzman and his partner Peter Regier were returning home after a concert and said they saw two men urinating on their door as they approached their Keefer Street home in downtown Vancouver. After a confrontation, Mr. Holtzman and Mr. Regier were beaten, both concussed, and landed in hospital.
The beaten men alleged that the assailants made homophobic slurs.
On Canada Day afternoon, Vancouver Police announced that two brothers from Richmond have been charged with assault causing bodily harm – two charges against 30-year-old Parminder Singh Peter Bassi and one charge against 27-year-old Ravinder Robbie Bassi.
The brothers are set to appear on July 5 in Downtown Community Court, which was set up in 2008 generally to handle cases against the mentally ill and drug-addicted.
An alleged hate crime is considered as an “aggravating factor” if the case reaches sentencing, Constable Jana McGuinness said Thursday.
Arrests in the high-profile case came after tips to police following the release of surveillance photographs on June 18, at a news conference attended by Police Chief Jim Chu and Mayor Gregor Robertson.
The arrests were announced at the same time as police revealed another “possible hate crime,” this one occurring at 2:45 a.m. A 30-year-old man was walking with friends on Davie Street downtown, an area popular with homosexuals, when he was confronted by a man in another group. The man threw a punch, police say, and the 30-year-old was knocked to the ground, when another man allegedly joined in, also punching the victim.
“Disturbing comments were also allegedly made regarding the victims’ sexual orientation,” police said.
The victim was not sent to hospital, but had facial injuries that required medical attention at the scene.
Alexandre Tchernychev and Aaron Alexander Hahn, both 21 and from Vancouver, were charged with assault causing bodily harm.