South Woodford daughter of TV actress cleared of glassing male model
The teenage daughter of TV actress Meera Syal burst into tears today as she was cleared of glassing a male model at a birthday party in Woodford Green.
Chameli Bhatia, 19, had been accused of launching a vicious attack on Christian Pannell at a party in Queens Avenue thrown by former classmates from Forest School, Snaresbrook.
Mr Pannell, who turned 19 this week, needed surgery and 14 stitches for cuts to his cheek and eyelids after the incident.
Miss Bhatia, of Broadwalk, South Woodford, was said to have held a grudge against Mr Pannell after he ended a relationship with her friend two weeks previously.
Giving evidence, Miss Bhatia insisted she inflicted the wounds accidentally and the jury at Snaresbrook Crown Court took less than an hour to clear her of assault causing actual bodily harm.
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Goodness Gracious Me and Kumars at No 42 star Ms Syal hugged her actor husband Sanjeev Bhaskar as the verdict was announced.
Mr Pannell said he arrived at the garden party at about 9pm on September 18 last year.
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He said: "The glass struck me and then also the drink itself. I went down on one knee.
"As I touched my face, I could see blood and my friends immediately came to aid me."
But Miss Bhatia, who was arrested at her home, described what happened at the party as a "horrible accident".
Miss Bhatia explained she tried to flick a drink at Mr Pannell on the dancefloor and accidentally smashed his glass with her ring.
She said his friends had been aggressive and threatening towards her.
Giving evidence a tearful Ms Syal claimed Mr Pannell’s father telephoned and threatened to "take her to the cleaners" the day after the incident.
Miss Bhatia denied assault causing actual bodily harm.
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