A curry house owner attacked a customer by throwing chilli powder in his eyes after he complained about ‘rubbery’ chicken, a court has heard.
Chef Kamrul Islam, 47, has gone on trial at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court, accused of causing David Evans actual bodily harm while he was dining at the Prince of Bengal in Tonypandy, South Wales, on January 21 2017.
Opening the case on Monday, Stephen Donaghue, for the prosecution, said Islam, who claims he acted in self-defence, started swearing at Mr Evans and his wife Michelle after they complained about their food.
He said: ‘The defendant was the owner of the Prince of Bengal curry restaurant and, as a result of a complaint about the food, a dispute arose.
‘The prosecution case is that this defendant grabbed a handful of chilli powder and threw it in the face of David Evans, thereby causing him difficulties with his eyes.’
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Jurors were told Mr and Mrs Evans went for their meal at around 7pm and were eating their main dishes when a waiter approached them to ask if they were happy with their food.
Mr Donaghue said: ‘It was reported to the waiter that they were not really happy and it was said that the chicken in particular was tough and rubbery.’
The court heard that the waiter left the table and returned with Islam, who asked them what the problem was in an ‘aggressive and difficult manner’.
Mr Donaghue said Islam was using foul language and swore at Mrs Evans, before turning round and walking towards the kitchen.
‘Mr Evans was unhappy that his wife had been spoken to in that manner and was demanding an apology from him,’ he said.
The court heard that Mr Evans followed Islam and stood in the doorway of the kitchen.
Mr Donaghue said: ‘It was at this point that the defendant had some chilli powder in his hand that he had acquired in the kitchen and then threw it in the face of Mr Evans.’
Mr Evans’ reaction was ‘immediate and obvious’ and he doubled up in pain, Mr Donaghue added.
He was taken to hospital where a saline drip was used to clean his eyes and he was found to have suffered burns where the spice landed on him.
Islam, of Llewellyn Street, Pentre, was arrested later that night.
In interview he told officers he acted in self-defence because he thought Mr Evans was going to attack him, and denied swearing at the couple, the court was told.
Mr Donaghue said: ‘He was always polite, he said, and they, he thought, were simply trying to get a free meal or something like that, but he simply walked away.
‘He felt that Mr Evans pursued him with a view to violence.
‘He said he picked the chilli powder up because he thought Mr Evans might throw a punch at him and, as he turned around, Mr Evans was forming his hand into a fist as if to punch him.’
Mr Donaghue told jurors their task would be to look at the two areas of dispute – what was said at the table, and whether or not Islam had acted in lawful self-defence.
Islam denies assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
The trial was adjourned until 10.30am on Tuesday.