GAY BASHING: Victims, others weren’t certain of the accuseds’ identities, lawyer tells court

Published: November 22, 2012

Brothers Parminder (r) and Ravinder Bassi arrive at BC Provincial Court in Vancouver, BC., March 21, 2012. The pair allegedly assaulted two gay men following a UFC event in an apparent anti gay attack in June of 2010. (Nick Procaylo/PNG)

SUSAN LAZARUK  
VANCOUVER DESI

Assault charges in a high-profile case against two Richmond brothers is a “textbook” example of mistaken identity, their lawyers told their trial on Thursday.

The lawyers for brothers Ravinder (Robbie) Bassi and Parminder (Peter) Bassi argued in Vancouver provincial court that the victims and two witnesses got the wrong men.

The identification of the clients was flawed for a number of reasons, they argued.

“Taint (of the identification process) looms large in this case,” said Peter Bassi’s lawyer, Michael Klein.

He called the victims’ identification of the brothers once they saw them in court “like shooting fish in a barrel.”

Robbie Bassi’s lawyer, David Baker, called it a textbook case of mistaken identification.

The Bassis were charged with assault causing bodily harm in the June 2010 beating of David Holtzman, who has since died of a heart attack, and his gay partner Peter Regier outside their Keefer Street townhouse, during which they were called derogatory names related to their sexual orientation.

Police had circulated a surveillance photo of two men the victims and two passerby witnesses said were the Bassis.

But Baker said the victims admitted during the trial they didn’t get a good look at their attackers during the brief attack that began when the gay couple asked one of the men to stop urinating on their building and one of them tried to photograph him.

Baker said it was dark and they were under attack and they weren’t able to or failed to describe the men’s facial features in early statements to police.

“When he (Regier) sees him (Robbie Bassi) in court, he’s able to describe his face for the first time,” said Baker.

And he and Klein said the victim’s positive identification of the accused was aided by seeing photos of them.

Holtzman told police he wasn’t able to identify his attackers and admitted in court he would only recognize them if he saw them again.

And the lawyers challenged the positive identification by two witnesses, recommending Judge Raymond Low give little or no weight to their testimony.

Klein said there’s no doubt a violent assault occurred but neither brother is responsible.

Low’s ruling isn’t expected until the new year.

slazaruk@theprovince.com
twitter.com/susanlazaruk

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