02/28/2014 12:24 EST | Updated 04/30/2014 05:59 EDT

Restaurant owner guilty of assault in 'spice man' trial

Toronto restaurant owner Naveen Polapady has been found guilty of assault causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon for a scuffle in which spices were thrown in the face of a man who Polapady claims tried to steal from his restaurant.

Polapady owns Maroli, an Indian restaurant located at 630 Bloor St. W. near Euclid Avenue.

On Aug. 21, 2011, Polapady had a confrontation with Manuel Belo in the alley behind the restaurant.

Polapady testified he saw Belo trying to open the back door of a van Polapady used to store items. Polapady also told the court he was on edge after someone tried to break into his restaurant on numerous occasions.

In his confrontation with Belo, Polapady armed himself with a broom handle and the two men tussled in a fight partially captured on a surveillance camera.

Police had alleged that Polapady was hiding in the bushes with the intention of ambushing the alleged thief on that day. Polapady denied it was an ambush and said he was trying to stop the man from stealing from him.  

During the tussle, Polapady struck the man with the broom handle and — during a portion of the fight that happened off-camera — threw spices into the man's face.

A security camera captured two men trading blows. Polapady eventually fled from the larger man, who is then seen riding away on his bike in the opposite direction.