A RESTAURANT worker who attacked his friend with a baseball bat in a dispute over a family business has avoided jail.

Cliff Uddin Choudhury, whose address was given as East Street in Bridport, appeared before Bournemouth Crown Court for sentencing on Wednesday, March 8 for sentencing having previously admitted one count of possessing an offensive weapon in a public place and one count of assault causing actual bodily harm (ABH).

The court heard how Choudhury, 48, approached his friend Peter Longley at around 10.30pm on May 12 of last year. Mr Longley, who worked at Choudhury’s family-run restaurant, was asleep in his mother’s car on Princess Road with prosecutors saying Choudhury had deliberately armed himself with a baseball bat and ‘sought out’ Mr Longley.

A witness to the assault reported hearing a ‘melee’ with Choudhury and Mr Longley standing by the car before the victim ‘fell to the floor unconscious’ after being struck with the baseball bat.

Philippa Harper, prosecuting, said the witness had come down from her house, approached the two men and managed to take the baseball bat before she rang the police. Choudhury waited with the witness for 45 minutes until police arrived and reportedly told her that Mr Longley had been stealing from the family business.

Prosecutors said there was no basis for this suggestion and subsequent enquiries didn’t suggest any money had been taken. Mr Longley said he couldn’t recall anything about the attack but did remember owing Choudhury around £10.

Ed Wylde, mitigating, said Choudhury was ‘entirely ashamed’ and ‘truly and intensely’ sorry for the attack. 

At a previous court hearing, Choudhury reportedly told police in interview that both he and Mr Longley had ‘drug problems’: Mr Wylde said his client had cut down of his use of heroin ‘by more than half’ since the assault and was keen to proactively engage with rehabilitation services.

He told Judge William Mousley KC that Choudhury would: “Make you a promise, your honour, he is prepared to look you in your eyes and say that you will never have to look him in the eyes again in this setting”.

Judge Mousley said it was clear to him that the root cause of the attack was ‘drug induced paranoia’ but acknowledged the progress made by Choudhury and the ‘significant contribution’ the defendant made to the community and his family. 

Choudhury was sentenced to a period of 44 weeks in jail - suspended for 18 months - and ordered to pay compensation of £1,500. He must complete 30 rehabilitation activity days.