TRIAL: Crown seeks assault conviction for brothers who allegedly beat gay men

Parminder (left) and Ravinder Bassi leave Vancouver provincial court on November 20, 2012.

BY SUSAN LAZARUK
THE PROVINCE

Two Richmond brothers charged with beating two gay men while allegedly yelling homophobic slurs at them should be convicted of assault causing bodily harm, court heard on Wednesday.

Ravinder “Robbie” Bassi and Parminder “Peter” Bassi are on trial on the charges, arising from an alleged attack outside the Keefer Street condo of David Holtzman and Peter Regier in June 2010.

Prosecutor Kirstin Murphy told Vancouver provincial court the brothers were identified by the victims and two witnesses and photos of them running from the area were captured on surveillance video.

The two brothers have pleaded not guilty. Neither testified in court and their lawyers offered no evidence on their behalf.

The Crown, which has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the two attackers were the Bassi brothers, told court the victims had given statements to police describing their attackers before police released a photo of the suspects.

She said later descriptions after the release were consistent with the earlier statements and the identification of the brothers weren’t influenced by the photos.

The Bassi brothers’ lawyers on Tuesday tried to have the police photo thrown out of evidence, arguing the photo was too dark and grainy for an ex-boss of Ravinder’s to be certain it was him.

But Judge Raymond Low allowed the photo to stand as evidence.

Court also heard more details about the attack.

Holtzman (who died earlier this year of a heart attack) and Regier had returned home from a Dionne Warwick concert to find a man, whom they allege was Ravinder Bassi, urinating on their condo.

Holtzman said, “Do you really have to do this here, this is my home.”

Holtzman said Ravinder asked him he was a “fag” and if he was serious.

“Yes, I’m a fag, and, yes, I’m serious,” court heard Holtzman replied.

He said Ravinder made an obscene invitation to Holtzman, to which Holtzman replied, “In your dreams.”

Parminder then alerted Ravinder that Regier was taking a photo of Ravinder urinating, and Ravinder charged at and attacked Regier, letting out a “crazy, maniacal laugh,” Crown told court.

“It was not an act of self-defence; he’s enraged,” said Murphy. “Ravinder Bassi had his arms raised and fists clenched.”

She said Regier tries to push him away and Holtzman was screaming “no, no, no, stop” and was trying to get in between them and a bystander was also trying to pry them apart.

Ravinder repeatedly hit Regier in the face and head with closed fists despite Regier saying, “OK, that’s enough.”

Parminder joined in the beating and Regier started to crouch down as he fended off blows to his torso, at which point Parminder kneed Regier in the face, witnessed by a passerby.

Holtzman was also repeatedly struck and ended up curled up in a planter in front of the building.

The victims said their attackers yelled, “f—ing faggot, I hate you, f—ing faggot,” and a passerby witness heard the homophobic slurs, court heard.

Vancouver police had said at the time they investigated the case as a hate crime, but no related charges were laid.

One witness said he expected the attack to stop but it continued and another passerby said she felt scared for the victim.

Crown said neither man were doing anything more than fending off blows and trying to defend themselves and it was a “one-sided physical assault.”

Regier’s injuries included a cut to the head that needed staples, a concussion, cuts and bruises, while Holtzman suffered cuts, chipped teeth and headaches that lasted for a year.

The trial is scheduled to continue with defence final submissions on Thursday.

slazaruk@theprovince.com
twitter.com/susanlazaruk

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