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Man sentenced after last year’s attack on Toronto drag queen

Joshua Oliver pleaded guilty to charges related to robbery of drag performer Ryan Boa

Ryan Boa was attacked and robbed at his home on May 13, 2015 after his drag performance at Statlers on Church Street. HG Watson/Daily Xtra

The man who allegedly attacked drag performer Ryan Boa last year has pleaded guilty to two of three charges related to the incident.

Joshua Oliver was arrested in Vancouver in June 2015 on unrelated charges and appeared in Surrey provincial court for the Toronto offence against Boa. He was charged with assault causing bodily harm, robbery with violence/threats of violence and breach of probation.

Oliver pleaded guilty to the latter two charges but not the assault charge in March 2016. On June 14, 2016 he was sentenced to one year in jail and one year probation for the robbery charge, and one day in jail for the breach of probation. The assault charge was stayed — the Crown decided not to pursue the charge for a conviction.

On May 13, 2015, Boa, 21, was seriously injured and robbed after bringing Oliver to his home after his drag performance at Statlers on Church Street in Toronto’s gay village.

Boa says he was attacked after refusing to have sex with Oliver. He had no memory of the attack, but woke up with serious injuries and his belongings — a cell phone, a laptop and wallet — were stolen.

Ryan Boa says he’s in a “good place” and is performing in more drag shows than ever since the incident on May 13, 2015.
Ryan Boa/Facebook

Dan McLaughlin, communications officer with the criminal justice branch of British Columbia, says that while he can’t comment on this specific case because he wasn’t involved, he says it’s not unusual for the prosecutor to stay one charge if the accused is already facing multiple and similar charges — in exchange for a guilty plea on the others.

“On occasion, the Crown prosecutor will accept a plea to one of several offenses which deal with the same subject matter,” he says, “as long as the plea would appropriately reflect the provably criminal conduct of the accused and provide adequate sentencing range given all the circumstances.”

At the time that Oliver was sentenced, he was facing other charges from unrelated cases, including three charges in Surrey for uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm, uttering threats to burn, destroy or damage and dealing with identity document without lawful excuse in Surrey, and a fraud under $5,000 charge from Toronto, which occurred the day after the incident with Boa.

Boa says he’s doing well since the incident. “I’m in a committed relationship, I’m happy, and I have a good support system,” he told Daily Xtra. However, he says he’s still having flashbacks about the incident and sometimes gets nervous when walking outside. “I’m just really cautious when people are walking parallel towards me — I get really anxious.”

Boa says because his nose was broken in the incident, he now suffers from migraines, an issue which he says may require surgery in the future.

After the incident, Boa says most people were supportive, but that he also experienced victim-blaming, even by those closest to him. “Some people, and other drag queens I knew said, ‘Oh well you shouldn’t take people home.’ People were hypocritical,” he says. “Other than that, people were very supportive. It was nice to have my community stand by me.”

Boa says he’s back to performing, and is doing more shows than ever. “I’m in a lot better place. I perform a lot and that makes me really happy.”

He won’t forget what happened last year, but he’s ready to move on and focus on getting back on track. “I don’t want to be known for my attack.”