Sunderland shopkeeper's drink-driving ban cut after baseball bat attack

A shopkeeper has had his driving ban cut after arguing that a baseball bat attack has left him fearful of carrying his takings to the bank on public transport.

Monday, 8th August 2016, 5:00 am
The newsagent's in Galashiels Road.
The newsagent's in Galashiels Road.

Pavinder Gosal, 32, has served two years of a mandatory three-year disqualification for his second drink-driving offence.

However, he will now be able to apply for his licence back at the end of November after a judge heard about his personal circumstances during a hearing at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court.

Colin Barrs was jailed in November.

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Gosal suffered a horrific assault at his newsagent’s in Galashields Road, Grindon, last year, which left him in hospital.

Colin Barrs was jailed for 14 months in November by a judge at Newcastle Crown Court. Barrs, who was 28 at the time, lived in the same street as Gosal’s shop.

Prosecutor Maimuna Bappa said she opposed the application to cut the disqualification.

Miss Bappa said Gosal’s most recent excess alcohol offence took place in 2014, when he was caught driving with 59 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath – the legal limit being 35.

Gosal's shop.

The court heard officers saw Gosal, of Sutherland Drive, Sunderland, get into a Rover with a bottle of alcohol in his hand and followed him.

“He tried to move into a lane without indicating, pulling in front of the police vehicle.

She added that Gosal was not wearing a seatbelt, and that he had a passenger in the car at the time.

“The defendant denied having consumed alcohol, stating that he was a Muslim,” Miss Bappa said.

Colin Barrs was jailed in November.

“He initially failed to give a breath test and was abusive in his behaviour.

“He was handcuffed and the defendant tried to pull free of the handcuffs.”

The court heard his first drink-drive offence occurred in 2007, when he had been drinking the night before and was still over the limit when giving his 16-year-old brother a lift to school.

The car he was driving was then involved in a crash, that was not his fault.

Gosal's shop.

Giving evidence, Gosal, who also runs another shop, in Bedlington Station, with his father, said he had been going through a divorce at the time of the most recent drink-drive conviction. He now also cares for his uncle, who’s had a stroke, while his father wants to retire.

A copy of the Sunderland Echo from November 17, 2015, containing a report of an attack on Gosal, was handed to district judge Roger Elsey.

The judge said: “It looks like a very serious assault.

Gosal said: “One rather aggressive customer came to the shop and we had a bit of a disagreement. He returned with a baseball bat with a few of his friends.

“He attacked me with the baseball bat. I was quite shaken and had to go to hospital for treatment. I was quite terrified.

“I have to take the takings to the bank on foot or on public transport. Even though the attacker was sent to prison, his associates are 
living in the area. I’ve felt terrified for my safety after that.”

Reducing the period of the ban to end in November, Judge Elsey said he would not lift it immediately, adding: “I’m not persuaded that two years is enough for a second offence.”