COURTS: Lawyers for brothers charged in Chinatown attack argue against admissibility of witness testimony

Published: November 20, 2012

Parminder ‘Peter’ Bassi (left) and Ravinder ‘Robbie’ Bassi leave Vancouver Provincial Court in Vancouver, B.C., Nov. 20, 2012. Arlen Redekop/PNG


Lawyers for two Richmond brothers accused of gay-bashing in an assault against two men in East Vancouver argued in court yesterday against allowing the testimony of individuals who identified one of the accused in a surveillance photo.

Parminder “Peter” Bassi is facing two counts of aggression causing bodily harm and Ravinder “Robbie” Bassi was charged with one count of the same offence after two men were allegedly punched and called homophobic names outside their home on June 12, 2010.

David Holtzman and partner Peter Regier were attacked after they yelled at a man urinating against their Keefer Street condo. The pair suffered bruises, cuts and concussions in the 10-minute attack and were treated in hospital.

Vancouver police at the time said they were investigating the attack as a hate crime, but never laid any related charges.

Police had circulated a surveillance photo of two men believed responsible and the Bassi brothers, then 30 and 27 years old, were arrested two weeks later.

The brothers, wearing dark suits and accompanied by two supporters in Vancouver provincial court on Tuesday, listened as the Crown argued in a voir dire, or trial within a trial, for the admissibility at trial of witnesses who identified Ravinder from the photo.

Ravinder’s supervisor from his job as a security employee at Vancouver airport testified in court yesterday she had no doubt the man in the photo was Ravinder, despite his lawyer’s attempts to cast doubts on the identification because the photo was dark and grainy.

Judge Richard Low is to deliver his ruling Wednesday morning on the admissibility of her testimony and that of another co-worker and of someone who played soccer with Ravinder. The trial is scheduled to continue this week.

Holtzman, a gay activist, died unexpectedly of a heart attack in April while on vacation with Regier in Palm Springs.

Holtzman, who was in his early 50s, had served as director of operations for Out On Screen and was a former executive director of the non-profit A Loving Spoonful.


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