A MAN was hit in the face with a pool cue in a fight outside a Coventry nightclub.
After getting involved in an argument, a young man left the scene and returned with two friends, and one had armed himself with a pool cue.
In the fight that followed, one of their victims was hit in the face with the cue, causing a wound to his chin which needed nine stitches.
But Mohammed Bilal, Shuab Ahmed, who had wielded the cue, and Mohammed Saleem all pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to unlawful wounding.
And on the day of their trial, their pleas of guilty to an alternative offence of affray were accepted by the prosecution, and all three were given suspended sentences.
Ahmed (22) of Webster Street, Coventry, was sentenced to 12 months suspended for 18 months, and was ordered to pay £1,000 compensation to his victim James Franklin.
Bilal (22) of Foleshill Road, Coventry, who instigated the conflict, was sentenced to 10 months suspended for 18 months, and was ordered to do 160 hours of unpaid work and also to pay £1,000 compensation.
Saleem (20) of George Street, Coventry, who was said to have been the least involved, was given a six-month sentence, also suspended for 18 months, and was ordered to do 120 hours of unpaid work and to pay £500 compensation.
Prosecutor Stuart Clarkson said that on March 28 Mr Franklin had been with his friends James Robinson and Gavin Cox and two young women in the Kasbah night club in Coventry.
They left at 4am and were standing nearby while some of them had a cigarette when Bilal approached one of the girls – but was told by one of the group to go away.
He accused Mr Robinson of being a racist and demanded an apology, but Mr Robinbson refused and told him to ‘f*** off.’
Bilal left, threatening that he was going to get his ‘boys’ – and five minutes later he returned with Ahmed, who was armed with a pool cue, and Saleem.
Saleem approached Mr Franklin, swearing at him and pushing at his chest, and pushed him over the bonnet of a taxi.
He tried to get off, and was then struck to the face by Ahmed with the pool cue, which was later found discarded in some nearby shrubs, as Mr Robinson was also pushed by the others.
Doormen took part of the registration number of the car the three left in, and they were arrested when the police stopped it a little later, but made no comment when they were interviewed.
Ekwall Tiwana, for Saleem, said he was about to begin his third year of a course at Coventry University, and is working part-time at a supermarket to fund his studies and also training to be a hairdresser.
“This is something that was completely out of character. He is very, very sorry about the whole thing.”
Talbir Singh, for Ahmed, said: “Any violence in any city centre in this country at night needs to be deprecated. But he’s a young man of 22 years of age of positive good character hitherto. He has worked since leaving full-time education.”
Ahmed has worked in his family’s restaurant in Coventry, where he was accustomed to dealing with people causing trouble, and did not drink very often – but had turned to alcohol as a form of escape after a long-term relationship had suddenly ended.
“He was by the car when his friend came over and asked for assistance because he’d been assaulted and abused, and he was told there was a pool cue in the car and to arm himself with it,” said Mr Singh, who added that there had been a single blow.
Jasvir Mann, for Bilal, conceded: “I have to accept he is the instigator of what happened. He knows that, but for his rash actions, these three young men would not be before Your Honour.”
Sentencing the three, Judge Carmel Wall said: “Before that incident, none of you had been in trouble, and since that incident none of you has been in any trouble.
“You Mr Bilal were offended by a comment. You left, and should have stayed away, but instead you got your friends involved and returned; and you, Mr Ahmed, had with you a pool cue.
“The seriousness of the offence is that the three of you came back to the scene with a weapon, and that weapon was used to cause injury, and it happened in a public street at night.”