Two Canadian men have been acquitted over the 2010 beating of a Vancouver gay couple in a controversial verdict that reportedly lead to gasps from the public gallery.
Brothers Parminder Bassi and Ravinder Bassi had been accused of beating gay men David Holtzman and Peter Regier outside their apartment building near Vancouver’s Rogers Arena on June 12, 2010.
Both brothers plead not guilty despite a witness who lived in the couple’s building identifying Parminder Bassi as a member of his soccer team.
A Vancouver police officer also identified Parminder Bassi as a member of the soccer team after viewing CCTV footage showing two men fleeing the scene.
However despite neither brother testifying in their own defence, Judge Raymond Low ruled that it had been two dark for four eyewitnesses – including the victims - to have identified the brothers and that security camera footage of the attackers had not been clear enough to identify them.
Following the assault Regier and Holtzman told Vancouver Police that the brothers had asked them, ‘Are you two faggots?’ as they reached the door of their building
When Holtzman responded that they were gay one of the brothers allegedly swore at them and when Holtzman made a quip in reply the brothers allegedly attacked.
Holtzman did not live to hear the verdict, having died of a heart attack in April last year.
Tracey Bell, a friend of the couple, told 24 HRS Vancouver that Regier and Holtzman had been ‘victimized a second time’ by the verdict.
‘There was so much evidence,’ Bell told 24 HRS.
‘People who didn’t know my friends came forward … My heart goes out to David, David’s family and Peter’s family and all the loved ones.’
A civil suit for compensation could still be brought against the Bassi brothers where there is a lower burden of proof.