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Richard Dowrey is still in grave condition after he was punched at the Fountainhead Pub on Friday. (CBC)

Many patrons at downtown Vancouver’s Fountainhead Pub who were celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on Tuesday night were still thinking about a bar incident days earlier that some witnesses are calling a hate crime.

A 62-year-old man, identified by friends as Richard Dowrey, is in hospital in grave condition after an attack at the pub on Friday night.

Lindsay Wincherauk, who was at the bar on Friday, contends the attack contained all the hallmarks of a hate crime.

"His [the attacker's] words repeatedly were, ‘He’s a fag, he deserved it. The faggot touched me. I am not a fag, the fag deserved it; he touched me.’"

Timothy Keating was also at the bar at the time, and called 911.

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Timothy Keating called 911 when he realized Dowrey had been attacked. ((CBC))

"I was outside having a cigarette and I heard the thud from outside when Ritchie's head hit the ground."

Vancouver police said Monday they arrested a 35-year-old man at the scene and charged him with aggravated assault for allegedly striking Dowrey after the two had an exchange of words.

Police confirmed they referred the case to the hate crimes unit, but insist they did so to ensure their investigation is exhaustive.

They also said the man is fully co-operating with authorities.