Case Summary

Myer Stores Ltd v Soo [1991] 2 VR 597

Tort; false imprisonment; total restraint of plaintiff.

Facts: A store security officer and two policemen confronted Soo, a customer in a Myer store, whom they suspected of shoplifting. They asked Soo to accompany them to an office to 'sort the matter out'. Although Soo denied the claim and was unwilling to go to the office, the security officers insisted and kept him there for an hour.

Issue: Did these circumstances amount to a false imprisonment of Soo?

Decision: Soo had been falsely imprisoned.

Reason: The court held that when the security officers escorted Soo to the office and kept him there for questioning, he had been subjected to a total restraint without legal authority and was thus falsely imprisoned. This was a serious wrong and damages of $10,000 were awarded.