Intersesting debate about the legality of detaining someone.
I'm not a lawyer and have no formal legal training but a company I worked for as a retail manager ended up settling out of court with a thief who had shop lifted and was then restrained by store security after refusing to come back in etc.
Here's where the grey area comes in which we were informed meant we couldn't make a citizens arrest without having it blow up in our faces.
Section 4 of the Criminal Justic Act which everyone normally refers to as giving the right to detain a shoplifter actually only gives the right where the person in question has or is suspected of committing an offence punishable by 5 years in jail.
And that's the issue - 5 years in jail because the maximum penalty for shop lifiting is actually 2 years. Straightforward theft / robbery as in a burglary or car theft etc is punishable up to 10 years in jail and you're absolutley entitled to detain someone in that case. However shoplifitng or failing to pay at a restaurant as is this case is dealt with as a seperate crime punishable by up to 2 years in prison.
8.—(1) Subject to subsection (2), a person who, knowing that payment on the spot for any goods obtained or any service done is required or expected, dishonestly makes off without having paid as required or expected and with the intention of avoiding payment on the spot is guilty of an offence.
(7) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding £3,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or both.
So in the incident I am talking about a male left the store without paying, was asked to come back in by security and refused to do so. Security then detained him - called the Gardai who arrested him for the theft. However this guys lawyer basically came after our company and the security company contracted by us for false imprisonment and the legal advice given was the company had indeed committed an offence so they settled out of court for what I believe was €7,000 to a thieving scumbag - nevermind an innocent person being mistakenly accused of it. Company policy thereafter was to request the thief to come back in but if they refused to get details like car reg etc and hand them over to the Gardai.
Unless this has been updated (and it may well have to be fair as the original legislation referred to £ fines etc) the restaurant in question has made a very serious error.