A man who said he was defending his father when he stabbed a ‘bully’ customer has been given a suspended prison sentence.
Zehn Khalique, 21, wept in court as he was told he was not being sent to jail for knifing the diner in the leg and buttock at the Jungle Grill in Rusholme, Greater Manchester. The victim was kicked out of the restaurant with his girlfriend on the evening of July 29 last year when he started swearing and shouting.
A group of men then descended on him and CCTV shows Khalique making four stabbing motions. He passed the knife he had taken from the kitchen to his dad, Sarfraz, 46, who disposed of it before Zehn fled the scene. The victim ran to a nearby cafe after he was chased by the father and son along with their colleague Nico Wilson, 25.
All three said they were acting in self-defence when the victim became abusive, saying he produced the knife when they tried to remove him from the takeaway on Manchester’s curry mile. Wilson punched him, knocking him to the floor, and Zehn spotted the knife so went to protect his dad.
Prosecutors accepted that the victim had previously bullied Zehn and noted that he had withdrawn support for the prosecution. Zehn was given a 15-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months while Sarfraz and Wilson were given community orders.
Judge Nicholls told the three men: ‘This conduct was wholly unacceptable. You all knew that it was frightening to people on the street. It was not acceptable. If these circumstances arise again you must look to alternative solutions.’
Speaking directly to Zehn Khalique, Judge Elizabeth Nicholls said she accepted the victim was known to him because ‘he had been part of a gang who subjected you to a succession of bullying attacks’.
‘Normally a man who takes a knife onto the street and uses it cannot expect a suspended sentence. You are a very young man with no previous convictions.’
She said the group saw the need to remove the victim from the takeaway when he produced a knife but added: ‘Once the victim has fled and there was no real threat anymore, you as a posse decided to go looking for him to pursue him.’
Mark Kellet, defending Sarfraz Khalique, described the incident as a ‘spontaneous reaction’ to someone who had subjected the father and son to provocation.
He said the father feels ‘remorse and shame’ and since his ‘misspent youth’ has done a lot for the community, employs local youngsters and is ‘a hard working man’ who supports his children, and cares for his mother, who has dementia.
Judge Nicholls said Zehn Khalique suffers from post traumatic stress disorder as a result of ‘traumatic episodes’ in his younger days.
She added: ‘I accept that the victim was known to you and had subjected you to violence and intimidation in your young life.
‘In light of these very specific and particular circumstances I can suspend the sentence.’