A trip from Pennsylvania in March of 2017 to a conference in Nanaimo changed a Nanaimo man’s life forever.

“It’s absolutely the worst thing that’s ever happened to me personally,” the 47-year-old said after testifying in the trial against 30-year-old Gabriel Nelson.

CHEK is not identifying him at his request. He said on the night before he was to go home he met a man at The Nanaimo Bar. They consumed multiple drinks before he invited Nelson back to his hotel. The complainant got another hotel room once there because he had been sharing a room with his business partner. Once inside the room things quickly went wrong.

“He punched me and beat me repeatedly in the head. He knocked me down which broke my ankle when I fell over and then once I was on the floor he choked me out at one point. He ripped wires out of the wall and bound my wrists and my ankles together,” he said.

He believes he was attacked because he was gay.

When asked if it was a hate crime he said “Yeah it was. We went there under different pretenses and thing were going well and then he just snapped and literally beat the bloody daylights out of me.”

Nelson is charged with robbery, aggravated assault and forcible confinement. The court was told Nelson stole the victim’s wallet, glasses and phone.

Nelson took the stand and while he admitted going up to the room with the complainant, he said it was to talk about business prospects. He said the complainant threw him on the bed as soon as they entered the room and he had to fight to fend off the larger man. Nelson said he tied him up as his adrenaline was running and he didn’t want to be chased after.

“It’s kind of ludicrous that a guy would go back to another hotel with another guy after they’d been drinking and hanging out and take off his shirt to have a business conversation at 2 or 3 in the morning. That’s not the way I interact in business,” said the complainant.

The victim said the whole incident has left him shaken and he’s still recovering from his broken ankle.

The judge reserved his verdict until Tuesday.

Kendall Hanson