Current Affairs

Gay hate crime trial starts in New York

Katherine Knowles March 23, 2006
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In a Brooklyn court room, Dwan Prince looked straight at his alleged attacker as he spoke of his terrifying ordeal on June 8th 2005 when a homophobic attack left him fighting for his life in hospital.

The defendant, Steven Pomie, is accused of beating, and stamping on 28 year old Prince. He then left his victim bleeding and unconscious in the street to die, in a hate-fuled crime that has shocked the city.

Mr Prince, a former demolition worker and porter now needs to use a wheelchair and has had to give up hope of returning to his former career.

The assault had had an huge on going impact, Mr Prince, who has undergone painful reconstructive surgeries and physical therapy, said. “I swung sledgehammers to break indoor walls in Brooklyn. I used to run fast,” Prince testified. “Now, I can barely walk. I can’t run. I can’t take pain medication because it makes me throw up. I can’t sleep because my leg hurts and my shoulder hurts.”

Mr Prince is paralysed on the left side of his body, and his extensive head injuries have left him with brain damage and constant uncontrollable shaking.

Pomie, a 22 year old with a criminal record, faces up to 25 years in prison if he is convicted of attempted murder and assault as a hate crime. Throughout Mr Prince’s testimony he kept his head down, refusing to make eye contact.

Outside the courtroom, Mr Prince, clearly shaken by meeting his alleged attacker again said,

“I didn’t know if he would get up and try to kill me.” He said that he was pleased to have been to court and hoped that Pomie would be put behind bars for the maximum time. “He should suffer what I suffer from,” he explained. “What goes around comes around. I can’t sleep at night, I’m in so much pain”

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