Restaurant owner broke cousin’s jaw in business row


A restaurant owner has pleaded guilty to assaulting his cousin on the street outside the business they owned together.

Ariel Levy, 26, of Hamilton Terrace in north-west London, admitted to committing actual bodily harm by twice punching 28-year-old Zion Levy in the face, leaving the victim with a fractured jaw which necessitated a diet of soft foods for six weeks.

Westminster Magistrates Court heard on Tuesday how Ariel Levy, who has been given unconditional bail and will be sentenced at a later date, carried out the assault, allegedly with his father, Mickel, who is being tried separately.

Ariel and Zion Levy own the Fiori Corner bistro in Leicester Square, but the court heard how their respective fathers, Mickel and Nissim - also business partners - had fallen out, with “the feud percolating down to the cousins”.

This had resulted in a series of texts between the two which involved Zion Levy accusing his cousin of stealing money from the business, saying in one message: “I’m done talking with a useless thief.”

Ariel Levy, a former Cambridge University student, then threatened to close their restaurant. In response, his cousin wrote: “You can't dissolve the business without my permission. If you'd learned how to read in your time at Cambridge, you'd know that.”

The argument came to a head at 8:14am on June 28, when Zion Levy was putting chairs and tables out on the street outside the restaurant. He was approached by his cousin, “who said that they needed to talk,” the prosecution said.

“At the same time as he said that, he gave him a shove. Zion walked away from him - he didn’t want to get into a confrontation. Mickel Levy then approached Zion Levy and slapped him in his face.

“Ariel Levy punched Zion in the face. Zion tried to walk away but he was punched again by Ariel Levy and spat and kicked at by Mickel Levy.”

The court heard that the victim then called the police, and that when two officers arrived they met Zion Levy, “who had blood coming from his mouth.”

Since the assault, which the defence called “particularly tragic” as it involved two cousins, Ariel Levy had been “remorseful,” and had written a letter to the victim.

The attack was “out-of-character” and “an isolated incident,” the defence said, by a man who was “not a risk to the public - it's not going to happen again.”

Ariel Levy, who was dressed in a suit and blue tie, was the subject a character witness from Louise Hyams, a Jewish local councillor and former Lord Mayor of Westminster, who called him a “very polite, mild-mannered, pleasant young man”.

Mickel Levy is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates Court later this month on a charge of common assault.

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