The victim of a 2009 homophobic attack in Vancouver has died in a care facility five and a half years after the incident which caused him permanent brain injury.
Ritch Dowrey was sucker punched in Vancouver gay bar The Fountainhead in March of 2009 by construction worker Shawn Woodward on the night he was celebrating his retirement.
The then 62-year-old hit his head on the floor after being struck, knocking him unconscious and resulting in permanent brain damage.
A friend, Lindsay Wincherauk, along with a group of other people, followed Woodward out of the bar and confronted him as to why he had attacked Dowrey to which he reported responded ‘The faggot touched me. I’m not a fag.’
Woodward would later claim in court that Dowrey had brushed his hand against his crotch as they passed in the bar.
However this was not accepted by Provincial Court Judge Jocelyn Palmer who found that, while there was some evidence that Dowrey may have touched Woodward’s shoulder in passing, there was no evidence that Woodward had had any reasonable grounds to have needed to defend himself.
‘There is no air of reality to this evidence,’ Judge Palmer ruled.
‘He fabricated this story to justify his outrageous assault … He chose to go directly to Mr Dowrey for the express purpose of punching him.’
Woodward was sentenced to six years in prison in November of 2010.
He filed an appeal against his sentence in 2011 which was dismissed. But he was granted full parole in May of 2013 less than half way through his sentence.
However Woodward will have to report to a parole officer until 7 November, 2016 and must not have any direct contact with Dowrey’s family members.
He must also not enter any establishment that serves alcohol or purchase or possess alcohol or consume or possess any drug other than those prescribed by a doctor.