Bar staff held men prisoner in cellar after brawl
BAR workers held two men prisoner in a cellar because they thought the drinkers might have killed someone in a brawl, a court heard.
Parviz and Behnam Jafari were dealing with a fight at Nikos bar in Park Street Avenue, in the city centre, when customer Joseph Potter was knocked unconscious.
Bristol Crown Court was told that two "heavily intoxicated" men – Joseph Allison and Robert Meech – were ejected after the incident. But when it was feared Mr Potter might be dead, the two men were taken back to the club and held in the basement.
Parviz Jafari, 36, of Kingsholm Road, Southmead, pleaded guilty to two charges of false imprisonment.
Behnam Jafari, 23, of Blandamour Way, Southmead, pleaded guilty to one charge of false imprisonment.
Sentencing the pair yesterday, Judge Julian Lambert said people were entitled to use reasonable force to prevent crime.
But he told Parviz Jafari: "You took the law into your own hands. It was a gross over-reaction in a very difficult situation. It can't be tolerated."
The judge gave Parviz Jafari a four-months suspended prison sentence, plus 200 hours' unpaid work.
He ordered Behnam Jafari to carry out 100 hours' unpaid work and told him to pay court costs of £250.
Parviz Jafari applied to be sent to prison, on the grounds he would not be able to support his family on unpaid work, and the judge gave him seven days to consider his application.
Charles Row, prosecuting, said a fight broke out at the bar in the early hours of June 5 last year and Mr Potter was knocked out.
He said: "Mr Potter was unconscious on the floor, with blood around his head and not moving. He was attended to by his girlfriend and there was great concern."
Mr Row said Mr Allison and Mr Meech were locked in the cellar. While Mr Potter regained consciousness and walked out of the bar, Parviz Jafari was seen taking off his belt and entering the basement, re-emerging with it wrapped around his first.
The Crown claimed Parviz Jafari used the belt to beat Mr Allison, who was left with a welt on his arm, bruising and grazes.
Parviz Jafari was shown on the bar's CCTV system detaining Mr Meech, with a belt placed around Meech's neck.
When police arrived at the scene Mr Meech had to be coaxed out of the cellar, the court heard.
George Threlfall, defending Parviz Jafari, said his hard-working client had been placed in a difficult situation.
He said: "They were doing their best in troubled circumstances. They thought it right to detain these people. They would be criticised if someone was left dead in the night club.
"It seems a no-win situation."
Giles Nelson, defending Behnam Jafari, said his client had "glowing" references.
Neither man had a caution nor previous conviction.