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Assault charges laid in Vancouver’s Tinseltown gaybashing

Two men to appear in court on Nov 22

Formal charges have now been laid against two men in connection with the alleged gaybashing that occurred near Tinseltown in the early hours of Oct 8, according to police.

Michael Anton Hostland, 22, of Port Moody has been charged with one count of assault, and Dustin James Sciog, 20, of Fort St John has been charged with three counts of assault.

The charges stem from an alleged attack on Thomas Pope, who says he was repeatedly called a faggot and punched near the corner of Abbott and Pender streets.

Hostland and Sciog are scheduled to appear in Downtown Community Court at 9am on Nov 22.

Pope was waiting for two friends outside the McDonald’s at Tinseltown when he alleges one of the men grabbed him by his shirt pocket, ripped the buttons and started punching him in the face, all the while calling him a faggot.

The man then punched one of Pope’s friends in the face and knocked out his tooth after his friend tried to intervene, Pope alleges.

Pope says police arrived quickly on the scene and handcuffed two men but let them go.

Police confirmed that two men were initially taken into custody at the scene but were released “while the case was being investigated.”

“In the event of convictions, police are requesting that Crown counsel assess the evidence that homophobic comments were allegedly made when determining if there is enough to support sentencing recommendations under hate crime provisions,” Vancouver police stated on Nov 2.

“If at the conclusion of the case, there is a conviction and the evidence discloses aggravating aspects of any incident, we’ll certainly ask the court to take those into account,” Crown Counsel spokesperson Neil MacKenzie told Xtra on Nov 17.

Asked if Crown will lead such evidence at a possible trial, MacKenzie says Crown in any proceeding “always leads the relevant available evidence.”