Two Richmond, B.C. brothers accused of viciously assaulting a gay couple in downtown Vancouver have been found not guilty.

Neither Parminder Singh Peter Bassi nor his younger brother Ravinder Robbie Bassi could be positively identified as the assailants in the June 12, 2010 attack, a provincial court judge ruled Monday.

Both men were acquitted on charges of assault causing bodily harm.

The decision sparked boos and hisses in the courtroom, where friends of victims David Holtzman and Peter Regier said they were dumbfounded that eye-witness testimony from half a dozen people proved insufficient.

“They’ve been victimized for the second time,” Tracey Bell said outside the courthouse. “There was so much evidence. People who didn’t know my friends came forward.”

“My heart goes out to David’s family and Peter’s family and all the loved ones.”

The Bassi brothers declined to comment on the outcome of their trial, or the possibility of facing the same allegations in a civil suit.

Holtzman and Regier were beaten after asking two men to stop urinating on their apartment building.

Regier testified that he was punched repeatedly and thrown into a wall while his attackers hurled insults about his sexual orientation. He was taken to hospital, treated for multiple bruises and given staples to close a cut on his head.

Holtzman, who is now deceased from causes unrelated to the attack, was treated at the scene by ambulance paramedics.

The case was investigated as a hate crime due to the homophobic slurs uttered during the assault.