Investment advisor at Canaccord Genuity charged in Vancouver pizzeria confrontation

One of the men charged following a heated confrontation over masks at a Vancouver pizza restaurant is an investment advisor at Canaccord Genuity.

The company issued a statement to CTV News on Friday saying the employee has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

"We are incredibly disappointed to learn of a shameful incident of inexcusable behaviour involving one of our employees," a spokesperson for Canaccord Genuity said in an email.

"Canaccord Genuity rejects the disgraceful behaviours, opinions and actions of the individuals involved. They are in no way representative of our firm’s values."

Vancouver police confirmed this week that assault charges have been approved against James Henry Davidson and Brenton Thomas Woyat.

Profiles on Facebook and LinkedIn identified Woyat as an investment advisor at Canaccord Genuity as recently as Thursday, though both pages appear to have been deactivated.

CTV News reached Davidson by phone Friday afternoon. He offered a brief statement, but said he would need to speak with his lawyer before commenting further. 

"We're extremely saddened by what happened. It's a horrible night for sure," Davidson said. "Never encountered anything like that in my history."

The allegations stem from a late-night altercation at the Pizza Pizza location in Vancouver's Kitsilano neighbourhood on Feb. 20.

Video shows two men confronting staff in an apparent dispute over the restaurant's mask policy. The pizzeria requires everyone capable of wearing a mask to do so, in accordance with the province's mask mandate.

"You guys are complete morons. COVID is a joke. You are completely brainwashed," one man yells in the video.

The recording later shows a teenager who was waiting outside the pizzeria getting roughed up.

Police said the men drove away from the scene, but that officers pulled over two suspects minutes later. Const. Tania Visintin said one of them is facing a possible charge of impaired driving as well, but she could not specify which one.

Visintin described the behaviour captured in the video as "ridiculous" and "embarrassing."

"This young man was just outside a pizza joint trying to eat pizza and he gets assaulted by two grownups," Visintin said Thursday.

Police said they’ve seen a growing number of incidents involving customers who become belligerent when asked to abide by provincial guidelines in businesses.

"It's unfortunate because these shop owners or store employees are just doing their job, they're just making a living and following the rules," Visintin said.

Woyat is scheduled to appear in court on March 17, while Davidson is due to appear on April 9.

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Allison Hurst