Gene Gallagher and Sonny Starkey – the son of Liam Gallagher and grandson of Ringo Starr, respectively – were criticised by a judge over their alcohol-fuelled “bad behaviour” during an alleged fight inside a Tesco store, in a case that saw all charges dropped.
Gallagher, Starkey and model Noah Ponte were all accused of assaulting staff at the Hampstead supermarket in May 2019. Gallagher, 20, was charged with a racially-aggravated assault on shopkeeper Hiran Rajput, with Starkey, 21, charged on two counts of assault by allegedly beating on Rajput and his colleague, Shvium Patel. Meanwhile, Ponte was accused of stealing a can of alcohol and attacking Patel after racially abusing him.
Wednesday (March 30) saw the trio stand trial for their charges at Wood Green Crown Court. According to the Evening Standardprosecutors dropped the case and charges on the first day of the trial, meaning the accused will not be formally punished.
They were criticised by judge Joanna Greenberg, however, who described them as “entitled” and said their behaviour was “completely out of order, no doubt as a result of having been drinking”.
Prosecutors reportedly conceded that the Tesco staff involved in the brawl had “over-reacted”. Greenberg however, went on to tell Gallagher, Starkey and Ponte that the conduct of those employees “doesn’t diminish to a great extent the bad behaviour” they’d enacted.
The judge continued: “It is a hard enough for people running late-night stores without entitled young men thinking they could get what they want by misbehaving, and this is what the two of you did.”
Influencing the prosecutors’ decision to drop the case was newly uncovered CCTV footage, handed to the court by Starkey’s defence lawyer, which reportedly shows one of the Tesco staff pushing the 21-year-old over. According to an independent eyewitness, the staffer was seen “hitting and grabbing Mr Starkey and appearing to target him”.
In response, prosecutor Alexander Agbamu told the court that Gallagher and Starkey “now have a strong case to the effect that Mr Starkey was lawfully defending himself and Mr Gallagher was lawfully defending Mr Starkey.”
Agbamu also noted that a security guard at the Tesco said the altercation was “avoidable”. The prosecutor claimed that “the staff should have been more patient with the males”, as “they were clearly young and drunk”.
Ponte’s charge – over the alleged theft of a canned gin and tonic priced at £1.70 – was cleared by a jury yesterday (April 1) after 30 minutes of deliberation. Greenberg reportedly insisted that the Crown Prosecution Service should drop the charge altogether, saying that particular offence was “trivial”.
Greenberg handed Gallagher and Starkey a “bind over”, putting an end to the three-year case on the promise that the pair would stay out of trouble for 12 months.
Gallagher, Starkey and Ponte first appeared in court in February 2020 when the charges were issued. Both the son of the Oasis frontman and grandson of The Beatles drummer were described as “windmilling” down the aisle when a shopkeeper tried to stop them leaving the store, Highbury Corner Magistrates Court previously heard.
Ponte, meanwhile, was accused of telling Patel: “You bloody Indians. Go back to where you came from. You’re not wanted here.”
Last year, all the defendants pleaded not guilty to their individual charges, and remained on bail until the trial at Wood Green Crown Court.