A Surrey dentist has been awarded $55,000 by a B.C. Supreme Court judge after suing a man who broke his front teeth during a wedding reception banquet.
Himmat Singh Bajwa sued Gurpaul Singh Deol and “John Doe,” whose identity remains unknown, over the Aug. 11, 2012 incident at Bombay Banquet Hall.
Bajwa had also sued others, including the bride and groom as well as the hall, and the strata corporation that owned the property, but that has since been “resolved,” Justice Brenda Brown noted in her reasons for judgment, delivered in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. The amount the other defendants paid in damages will be deducted from what Deol has to pay, she decided.
The court heard Deol claimed Bajwa looked at him “in a drunken manner” and claimed he would punch him or knock him out. “He was right in my face so that as he spoke his saliva hit my face. I think he stumbled at that moment and I was certain he was going to strike me so I moved quickly and struck him first.”
Deol told the court he struck Bajwa with an open hand, Bajwa stumbled and fell to the ground. “I did not hit him hard enough to cause him to fall,” he testified. “I believe that he fell because he was unsteady on his feet due to the alcohol he had consumed. He fell backwards on his rear end.”
Deol was found guilty of assault in this case in 2015 and was sentenced to one day in jail and a year’s probation. During the civil suit, Bajwa, 38, of Surrey told the court he and his wife had attended the wedding reception and he drank three or four beers between 8 p.m. and midnight. Bajwa said he was not intoxicated.
He said they were waiting for a cab at about 12:30 a.m., after getting into an argument with Deol’s father, when Deol and another man arrived, and Deol punched him in the side of his with what he thought were brass knuckles, with a closed fist. He said he was stunned, and someone else hit him on the back of the head with a hard object. He fell to the ground, he said, and lost consciousness.
Bajwa said he was taken to Surrey Memorial Hospital, where he received a CT scan. His lip was split, his front teeth were broken, his cheek and chin has numerous abrasions and there were cuts and scrapes to the back of his head.
He was treated by another dentist and a plastic surgeon, the court heard, and on account of the assault has developed a fear of social situations.
The judge found Bajwa “entirely credible” in his evidence. Bajwa sought general, special and punitive damages.
At the time of the assault, the court heard, he had been working at dental offices in Maple Ridge and Langley.