False accusation deeply upsetting to homosexual couple
I doubt that I would be as upset but I would still be mightily outraged and I would sue the pants off everyone involved too
It was meant to be a quick afternoon trip to the shops to buy a sit-up machine and return a Seinfeld DVD. But for Karl Webster and his partner, Stewart Thompson, a spot of retail therapy turned into ongoing psychiatric therapy after the pair were searched by police in front of fellow shoppers, having been wrongfully accused of credit card fraud.
Mr Webster and Mr Thompson are each suing Coles Myer, the owner of Kmart, for more than $750,000 in damages, claiming they were defamed and wrongfully imprisoned after a store employee accused them of using a fraudulent credit card to obtain store gift vouchers while shopping on October 25, 2004.
Mr Webster told the District Court yesterday that he felt humiliated when a female police officer informed him of the allegations at Ashfield Mall and searched his bag in front of up to 40 other shoppers. "I felt violated and bullied and not trusted and accused," he said. "I felt completely on show and embarrassed." At the same time, an "embarrassed and humiliated" Mr Thompson started to wet himself while being escorted by police from a grocery store within the mall, as shoppers at the checkout counter stared. Mr Thompson worked for the Coles Myer-owned Grace Bros as a team leader in women's fashion accessories and feared he would lose his job, the court heard.
The two men were taken downstairs to a loading dock and frisked by police, who continued to ask them to hand over the St George credit card used in the alleged fraud. Both men denied they owned such a card before eventually being allowed to leave without arrest.
The court heard Mr Webster had been undergoing psychiatric treatment and had accompanied Mr Thompson to the mall that day to help with his fear of shopping. They were no longer together after the continuing trauma from the incident "closed my heart", he said. Both men, who are now unemployed, are claiming damages for past and future economic loss as a result of the incident. Mr Webster is claiming he suffers from increased levels of anxiety and that the incident aggravated his pre-existing obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic disorder. Mr Thompson claims he has been unable to continue with sales work.
Another false accusation
Pregnant woman forced to show her belly: I have some sympathy with the shop owners here as Ipswich does have a lot of ferals, but asking the woman to disrobe in public is amazingly crass
A PREGNANT woman who was forced to expose her swollen stomach to a liquor store full of customers has prompted a consumer lobby group to call for a ban on strip searches in Queensland shops. A 40-year old Ipswich woman, who was eight-and-a-half months' pregnant, was forced to lift her shirt after being wrongly accused of shoplifting at the Springfield Lakes 1st Choice Liquor store on Monday. The woman, who was taking her time with her purchase, was buying a birthday present for a friend.
The distraught woman was told if she refused the search in full view of other customers, police would be called. It is believed the 1st Choice Liquor staff claimed there had been a similar incident earlier in the week where a person who was posing as a pregnant woman was actually stealing alcohol.
Queensland Consumer Watch spokesman and Ipswich Councillor Paul Tully described the incident as totally appalling and an invasion of individual rights. "This is a matter for the police, not voyeurs working in liquor stores forcing pregnant women to undertake partial strip searches in front of other beady-eyed customers," he said. Mr Tully called on the Queensland Government to make it illegal for store owners to require shoppers to submit to strip searches in public.
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