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Topic # 123218 28-Jun-2013 21:36
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Today, my wife was stopped by a security goon in the Warehouse, Glenfield. She was not allowed to leave, was accused of stealing an item and forced to turn out her handbag. All in front of the other shoppers in the store.

She is very upset about it all and wants to know the legalities about this kind of situation.

Can they really employ thugs to do this? Can she refuse if this happens again? Can we do anything to seek redress for this?

For a woman, to be confronted by a large, intimidating man and being forced to reveal the intimate contents of her handbag to that man and to any bystanders, there is also a degree of sexual intimidation and humiliation about such a situation.

What can we do?

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  Reply # 846931 28-Jun-2013 21:50
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Legally, they cannot stop you leaving- doing so is unlawful detainment and is a serious offense. However, they are entitled to take action to prevent you entering their store again if you do so (trespass notice etc). Cest la vie.

As to turning out that handbag, I think that you are taking the mickey a bit claiming "sexual intimidation and humiliation". The store likely has a sign at the entrance stating that by entering you agree that as a condition of entry you may be asked for a bag search upon departing, so they are legally entitled to ask.

However, that said, though you cannot seek redress via legal means for being asked for a bag search, you can certainly seek redress via customer service means. No company likes to get a reputation for being a douchebag, so I would suggest that you contact The Warehouse yourself to discuss the experience you had.

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  Reply # 846933 28-Jun-2013 21:53
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I could not tell you what the legal situation is. It is unlikely The Warehouse wants their customers to have that experience and they would probably want to know about it. It sounds bad.

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 846937 28-Jun-2013 21:58
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sorry to hear this mate

not CERTAIN what the legal position is - and maybe a geekzoner is a lawyer and will comment...

my understanding is that they cannot legally detain you for what would be at worst shoplifting and would not come under the requirements of a citizens arrest

this page seems to support my understanding

http://www.ns.org.nz/index.html/Factsheets/CitizensArrestAndSelf-defence

this page also has info on the matter your wife faced today ie. re accusations of shoplifting

long story short - she did not have to comply

i was accused of shoplifting once ( i was not) and they tried to stop me from leaving the store - i suggested they should get out of my way, or i would walk through them, they sensibly got out of my way

i was more than happy for them to get my rego etc - as i knew nothing would come of it - but i was not going to be treated like a suspect / criminal when i knew i had done nothing wrong and they had no rights or ability to detain or search me

what can you do about what they did? ....probably not a lot legally (i am guessing) as they didn't force her, rather they "asked" and she consented

i would however pay them a visit if it was my partner and in no uncertain terms verbally rip them a new one for upsetting my partner, but that's just me : /

ps: re trespass notices - don't give them your name and they cant serve a trespass notice on you ....
pps: re bag searches - the notices don't mean jack - they have no search rights. even the police have limited rights in this regard and have to have justifiable cause. store guards have no such authority.
ppps: i ain't giving shops or guards grief, shop lifting is ar$e and thieves are scum, but don't they dare try and dragnet me as an innocent with your bull$hit stand over tactics

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  Reply # 846938 28-Jun-2013 22:01
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jpoc: Today, my wife was stopped by a security goon in the Warehouse, Glenfield. She was not allowed to leave, was accused of stealing an item and forced to turn out her handbag. All in front of the other shoppers in the store.


"The warehouse" has no authority to force you to do anything.   They can ring police to do this for them though. But even the police probably have no authority unless they have reasonable grounds . 

Really, you need to speak to lawyerzone.com, not here. 




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  Reply # 846942 28-Jun-2013 22:03
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Kyannar has it about right. They could only perform a citizens arrest (arrest without warrant) if they had reasonable evidence that the goods in question were valued at $1000 or more. That is for a crime by day, by night 9-6 it is any crime under the crimes act.

They would also have to be very careful how they handled the situation or they could be accused of assault.

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  Reply # 846943 28-Jun-2013 22:03
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There's a great muppet festival of a thread on this already.

You have little recourse other than to discuss the issue with them directly, or if you wish to take matters further, I would suggest consulting with a lawyer.

Certainly you'll get nothing more than vauge opinions and blather by posting here, i.e. my reply.

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  Reply # 846944 28-Jun-2013 22:05
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Kyanar: 
As to turning out that handbag, I think that you are taking the mickey a bit claiming "sexual intimidation and humiliation".


I could see how some women could possibly feel this way - definitely humiliation. 



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  Reply # 846945 28-Jun-2013 22:06
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Some good information in the newspaper article reproduced on this website.

Short answer as I understand it - no. They can't demand to search your bag. They cannot prevent you from leaving the shop.

Cheers,
Joseph

gzt

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  Reply # 846946 28-Jun-2013 22:08
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Kyanar: As to turning out that handbag, I think that you are taking the mickey a bit claiming "sexual intimidation and humiliation".

If you think about that you will find it kind of depends what was in the bag doesn't it. Enough said.

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  Reply # 846978 28-Jun-2013 23:45
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driller2000: my understanding is that they cannot legally detain you for what would be at worst shoplifting and would not come under the requirements of a citizens arrest 

this page seems to support my understanding 

http://www.ns.org.nz/index.html/Factsheets/CitizensArrestAndSelf-defence 

snip

ps: re trespass notices - don't give them your name and they cant serve a trespass notice on you ....

pps: re bag searches - the notices don't mean jack - they have no search rights. even the police have limited rights in this regard and have to have justifiable cause. store guards have no such authority. 


Hmm - some good, some bad here. The article you didn't link to is a little out of date in that it says "The police will search an offender's bag upon arrest" - actually police will search your bag (under the Search and Surveillance Act 2012) if they have reasonable grounds to believe (as opposed to justifiable cause) an offence has been committed and the search will locate evidential material in relation to this. Such a search could be by consent (s92) or not (s88).

If someone wishes to serve a trespass notice on you and you refuse to provide your details you're actually on the path to committing an offence under s9 Trespass Act 1980.

BTW - there is no such thing as citizens arrest. It's very much a misnomer and I challenge you to find any reference to it in the Crimes Act. There is only 'arrest'.

Not that I particularly care one way or another - just thought I'd steer things in the right direction.

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  Reply # 846982 28-Jun-2013 23:58
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Did they apologise once they found nothing? I would hope that a false accusation would at least involve the duty manager saying sorry and explaining their reasons for the search.

Personally, I kind of expect to be stopped whenever I carry a bag in and out of a store*, and am only too happy to show that I haven't stolen anything. I'd draw the line at being asked to undress in any way. That's when I would ask for the police to be involved.

(* I usually look like I could be guilty of crime- just an untrustworthy face I guess...)




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  Reply # 846984 29-Jun-2013 00:02
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This is common in Walmart in the US. Most times I was there, there were random bag searches going on. There it is not unexpected, so no drama, but here, I have never seen or experienced that.

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  Reply # 846994 29-Jun-2013 00:36
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Dratsab: If someone wishes to serve a trespass notice on you and you refuse to provide your details you're actually on the path to committing an offence under s9 Trespass Act 1980.


I notice that section states:

"An occupier of any private land upon which any person is found trespassing, or any constable, may require that person to—"

What constitutes being "found trespassing"? assumably up until that point you had at the very least implied consent to be on the premises, and I would assume that should they wish to revoke that consent and you complied (Ie. you immediately left the premises), you would be committing no offence?

Also, is there anything in the law to prevent you being trespassed without reasonable cause?




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  Reply # 847000 29-Jun-2013 01:22
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I'd be listening to dratsab.

Personally, I'm covered in tattoos, and get scanned and searched everywhere from customs to the warehouse. As long as as I don't miss a flight, I couldn't care less, and they tend to apologise.

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  Reply # 847004 29-Jun-2013 02:10
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I used to work at the Glenfield Mall, come 3pm the school kids would do their pass of the Dick Smith store and all too frequently you'd fine empty product packaging lying around or slightly hidden out of sight.

I suspect its the same at The Warehouse.

Sure no one likes being singled out, but unless you've just swung by the adult store, upturning you bad shouldn't be such a big deal if you have nothing to answer for.

I've walked out of clothing stores and set the alarm off several times because of sales staff not removing those tags. I just smile and walk......... back to the counter and get it sorted.


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