BURNABY, B.C. Jan 7 2017- How did it go wrong? Let the experts count the ways.
When a Burnaby man was allegedly injured by Hudson's Bay security last week, the security guards blew it, disregarding law and security protocol, a lawyer and a security expert say.
"They skipped right to Step 5," said Brian Farr, who has 20 years experience in commercial and corporate theft prevention. "As far as I'm concerned, he was assaulted if what he says is true.
"If you assault and use force on this person, you better have a very good reason."
Sean McQuillan, a 33-year-old accountant from Burnaby, said he was grabbed, forced to the ground, his face shoved into the pavement, then handcuffed and marched through Lougheed Town Centre and The Bay last week after he'd left the mall with a slow cooker and a panini press he'd paid for with his debit card.
The receipt was in his pants pocket.
"Even if the guards had a reasonably held belief (that McQuillan had shoplifted), they can't use any more force than is necessary to make an arrest," criminal lawyer Kevin Westell said. "The guy (McQuillan) looks pretty banged up to me.
"In the words of the victim, it seems he didn't put up much resistance. He was pretty much assaulted."
The Bay has declined to comment on the incident, other than to say it takes it seriously and is investigating.
Westell said security guards, or anyone for that matter, can make a citizen's arrest.
According to the Criminal Code there are seven steps to making a legal citizen's arrest in Canada and in this case it seems security guards failed to follow at least four of them.
For instance, according to McQuillan they did not identify themselves or read him his rights.
Nor, Farr said, did they have a right to have McQuillan empty his pockets in search of a receipt.
"The police can process you, security cannot process you, they have no right," Farr said. "Security cannot search for a receipt or a stolen item.
"And continuity is big, you can't lose sight of them in the store."
He said Bay security did not have continuity and did not see McQuillan pay for the items before following him out of the store. If they had, logic dictates they would not have tackled him.
McQuillan said once he produced his receipt he was released (he immediately returned the kitchen items and got his money refunded) and was directed to call James Petrowsky, a loss prevention manager at HBC's Western headquarters. When he got through to Petrowsky, McQuillan said the Hudson's Bay official asked if there was anything that could be done to make him comfortable shopping at The Bay again.
"Usually in a case like this, they'll settle for $30,000 or $40,000 within three weeks," Farr said. "That's to keep his mouth shut."
"Were they right in arresting this fellow? No," Farr said. "Should he have been arrested because his items weren't in a bag? No.
"Is it worth $30,000 (to the Bay) for $100 (in merchandise)? No, it's not."