Vancouver Man Gets Six Years in Prison for Assault That Left Gay Man Brain-Damaged

Shawn Woodward was sentenced today to six years in prison for an "unprovoked attack, driven by virulent homophobia," according to the judge, for an assault on 62-year-old Ritch Dowrey which left Dowrey with permanent brain damage.

The Vancouver Sun reports: Woodward

"Woodward, 37, punched Dowrey in the face in the Fountain Head Pub, a gay bar in Vancouver's West End, March 13, 2009, causing Dowrey to fall unconscious on to a tile floor. Woodward was charged with aggravated assault. Vancouver Provincial Court Judge Jocelyn Palmer rejected Woodward's evidence that Dowrey had touched his crotch before the assault. She said the evidence showed that Dowrey — who was celebrating his retirement that night — had twice approached Woodward and asked if he could buy him a beer and had merely touched his shoulder. However, Woodward responded: 'I'm not like that,' meaning 'I'm not gay,'" said the judge. As he was leaving the pub, Woodward sucker punched Dowrey and then stepped over him to get to the door, Palmer said. 'Mr. Dowrey had no opportunity to defend himself,' the judge said. Patrons held Woodward outside the pub and he told them Dowrey was 'a faggot' who deserved what he got."

According to friends, Dowrey now has no memory and is living in a care facility because he can't care for himself.

Said Dowrey's friend Lindsay Wincherauk: "Ritch on March 13, 2009, was this really super happy, fun-loving, good guy who encouraged everyone. Since the event, Mr. Dowrey has no recollection of today, yesterday, years before. He's happy to see you but he's not the same person … it's like he died that day."


  1. Tell It Like It Is says

    “I know. Let me go to a gay bar and then get offended when someone offers to buy me a drink!”

    Maybe you shouldn’t go to gay bars to begin with asshole.

    Have fun in prison. I hope you get sucker punched yourself and someone makes you eat their shit.

  2. Derek Pearce says

    Again,as tell it said, “I went to a gay bar and got fucking offended when a guy was remotely forward with me.” Fuck you. I hope you enjoy your prison boyfriends.

  3. Bryan says

    Victim suffers fate worse than death at hands of killer bigot.

    Killer bigot forced to spend six years in really bad hotel with awful surface at government expense.

    Media sells advertising by covering it.

    We experience recreational outrage, throw up our hands in despair before before going back to sitting on them.

    And the beat goes on.

  4. Rin says


    that is the way of the entire world. Tragedies are a blip on our radar. Instead of becoming depressed that bad people don’t get what’s coming to them we could all channel our energy into prevention of bullying, awareness, and spreading love.

    I know what you mean, though. I worked relief for years and would watch someone die, someone wonderful with a name, with joys and interests, and then less than a half hour later their bed was filled like they never existed.

    This world just keeps rolling.

  5. says

    That’s it? Six years? While his victim has a lifetime of brain damage? Next time you’re called up for jury duty make sure you show up. You could be member of a jury deciding a matter like this. I know YOU would make sure the criminal spent the rest of his life in the same tortured world he put his victim in.

  6. BobN says

    I’ve never understood why criminals who cause permanent harm to their victims are not required to pay restitution for the rest of their lives, even if it’s just to offset the cost to taxpayers.

    This man should never be free of what he has done.

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