FOUR Southampton taxi drivers unleashed a violent attack on three men in a city centre pub.
One victim was punched, kicked and stamped on as he was pinned to the floor while others brandished pool cues and wielded bar stools when a mass brawl broke out – all after a row over who was going to buy the next drink.
Innocent pub goers desperately tried to intervene to ease tensions as fighting escalated at the Dorchester Arms.
Gurmit Singh Roath, his two sons Jaswant Singh and Satnam Singh Roath as well as his nephew Shakti Singh Roath all launched violent assaults as a normal night out descended into violence.
Gurmit Singh Roath
Southampton Crown Court heard how trouble started after 50-year-old Gurmit became involved in a “heated” dispute, which involved swearing, about who should be buying the drinks.
CCTV footage of the pool saloon area of the Onslow Road pub then shows him grabbing another man, Mohinder Singh Rathor, throwing him to the ground and aiming a kick at his body.
The court heard how Mr Rathor’s turban was knocked off – an incident which, if it happens in public, is regarded as a serious matter within the Sikh community.
Two other men, Gurmit Singh Pottiwal and his son Gurdev Singh Pottiwal rushed to his aid.
CCTV footage shows a victim is kicked in the head during fight
But seconds later, the court heard, Roath was heard instructing his sons and nephew to “get stuck in”.
Skirmishes broke out around the pub and at different times Jaswant, Shakti and Satnam were all seen to pick up bar stools before being restrained before they could lash out.
Jaswant, 30, pictured below, aimed two punches at the Pottiwals in the earlier spell of fighting and one punched back in “defence” of both of them.
Satnam, 27, was seen holding bar stools aloft.
Shakti, 28, later straddled Gurdev Singh Pottiwal on the floor and unleashed a volley of punches while his family members joined in the attack with kicks.
CCTV picture of a stool being held aloft during brawl
Bar staff had called police as the violence escalated, the court heard, while a number of windows were smashed causing hundreds of pounds of damage.
In mitigation, the court was told how Gurmit may have been reacting initially to insults about his late mother and that his family members believed he was under attack when fighting broke out.
Satnam, pictured above, who had a previous conviction for common assault in 2011, admitted he had acted “stupidly” by picking up a stool – but never actually struck anyone with it as he was disarmed, the court heard.
He was described as being “kind” and hard working and acknowledged the incident had brought “embarrassment and shame” on the family.
Shakti, pictured below, a father-of-three, was described as acting as peacemaker before “losing his temper” and raining punches down on his victim. He once served nine months in a young offenders’ institute following an actual bodily harm conviction in 2006.
Gurmit Singh Roath, who was diagnosed with cancer in November and has been severely ill ever since, will be sentenced at a later date.
Jaswant, who has a previous conviction for common assault in 2012, has been helping to look after his father since the diagnosis.
There have been apologies from all sides since the incident on June 30 last year and the Sikh community in Southampton was described as being “at peace”.
Recorder Andrew Langdon QC described some of the behaviour on the night as “extraordinarily aggressive”.
The Dorchester Arms
Gurdev Singh Pottiwal said he had been knocked unconscious during the fight and sustained eye, and head injuries. His father said the incident had had a “profound” effect on him.
Mr Rathor suffered chest and knee injuries.
Satnam and Jaswant, both of Bassett Avenue, Southampton, and Shakti of Bitterne Road East, were all handed nine month sentences suspended for 18 months having pleaded guilty to affray.
They were each ordered to carry out 100 hours community payback and told to pay their three victims a combined £500 each in compensation as well as paying £600 costs.