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Alleged Canada Day bashers in court

Vancouver police call in hate crime unit to investigate

Aaron Alexander Hahn leaves Downtown Community Court with his lawyer Mark Rowan. Credit: Jeremy Hainsworth photo

Two 21-year-old men charged with assault causing bodily harm in a Canada Day attack police are investigating as a possible hate crime will return to court on July 19.

Charged are Alexandre Tchernychev and Aaron Alexander Hahn, both of Vancouver.

The charges stem from a Canada Day attack at Burrard and Davie streets that left a 30-year-old gay man recovering from facial injuries requiring medical attention.

About 2:45am on July 1, the victim and his friends were walking along Davie St when they passed another group of men and women.

Vancouver police say one of the men from the group suddenly confronted the victim, words were exchanged, and the victim was suddenly punched in the face, knocking him to the ground.

“As he lay on the ground, the blows continued and a second man allegedly joined in, repeatedly punching the victim. Disturbing comments were also allegedly made regarding the victim’s sexual orientation,” a police statement says.

The alleged attackers then fled but were arrested minutes later on the 1100 block of Davie.

Tchernychev and Hahn appeared in Downtown Community Court on July 12 with their families. They sat in separate parts of the court gallery and barely acknowledged each other.

Hahn is being represented by lawyer Mark Rowan; Tchernychev did not have a lawyer.

Crown prosecutor Alex Henderson told Judge David Pendleton he had only received the case particulars that morning and was not ready to proceed. As a result, the case was adjourned for one week.

For now, the two men will continue to appear in court together.

Vancouver Police Department spokesperson Lyndsey Houghton says the investigation remains active, and the file has been reviewed by the hate crimes section.

He stresses there is no such charge as a hate crime and that such a determination is made by the courts at sentencing.

“All of the information has been forwarded to Crown, and they have to wait for the process to take place,” Houghton says.

“If there are findings of guilt,” he says, “Crown will go with the verbal sayings. That’s where the derogatory stuff is.”