This morning I got a phone call from a resident in Navan that was doing – or trying to – some shopping in his local town. He was doing so in order to try support local businesses suffering from all the Covid related shutdowns. He didn’t want to buy online if he could help it so he visited a local well known toy store to do the second part of “Click and collect“.
Time: 11.50 am. 28th November 2020.
He went to collect a soon Christmas present for a bother. While there at the store he politely asked “When will the next delivery be of goods arriving?” He asked as he wanted to buy again at the toy store. The goods would be costing over €100+. While a good member of staff was about to go looking for an answer to his question, the day manager overhearing things nearby, suddenly (for want of a better description) ‘blew a mental gasket’ and told the customer to “Get the f**k out of the Store. It’s my store and I want you out“.
A few things for the record.
1. It wasn’t their store – they were just the day manager.
2. The customer asking, quickly turned on his phone and started recording sound and video.
3. The customer used to work in the store previously. He knew who was in full manager charge and how things operated regarding delivery dates, etc. He just didn’t know what date was a particular item possible coming in – so asked…
4. The customer had been only asking politely, a question that many stores around Ireland are getting these days on a very regular daily basis.
The customer bewildered at the sudden abuse thrown at him, just tried to present his case that he was asking a basic question because he wished to return to the shop to spend more money there. (Thus helping to do his bit for the local economy as regular requested by local and national elected) So he tried to just calmly state his case.
Suddenly the manager was joined by five more members of staff who then circled around the customer. The manger then abused the customer and threatened him with physical violence. Two others joined in, each threatening physical violence. Note this number (three) of people as it’s legally important. Being threatened by three people (or more) is in fact, an escalation in legal terms of an already statue crime. Three or more makes it more punishable in fine imposed and actual prison sentence on found guilty.
Still the customer (knowing the law very well) remained peaceful and did nothing to incite violence or the issuing of threats of violence – but the latter continued. All for asking a simple question.
The matter got worse. One of the staff over-reacted and decided to call the Garda. Now, remember that the store too has CCTV cameras also recording!
The man, knowing the law and not wishing to be a cause of concern to any staff or other passive visiting customer people around, stepped outside and waited for the Garda to arrive. Why? He wished to speak to Garda himself over the way he had been treated, insulted, surrounded and by three people, threatened with physical violence. It should be noted that any customer guilty of having committed any offense, would hardly wait around for any Garda to turn up? The innocent customer did, if only to register a formal complaint.
Two Garda turned up. For some reason, one Garda assumed their call out was over the wearing of masks. It wasn’t. That never came up in the shop. Never an issue. (Remember, this is all being recorded by the customer)
The Garda spoke to the raging manager who gave a whole false tale of how the customer came in and started abusing the staff and threatening them. All he had done was the collecting of a soon Christmas present and then asked a simple question. The manager appears to have quickly invented and told the Garda a whole tale of ‘cock and bull’ to further justify their calling out by another member of staff.
The Garda then returned to the outside upset customer and told him to immediate leave as he had apparently threatened the staff. At this point they became aware he was also recording. The customer asked did the Garda actually look at the store CCTV video footage, as this would also back up his version of events. They didn’t and declined to. They then apparently tried to scare the customer over being possible arrested. They quoted Section Eight of the Public Order Act as an excuse for his possible arrest.
- Remember, the customer knows the law inside and out.
The customer staggered as this next turn of events, immediately formally asked the Garda for the producing of their Garda identifying cards. A citizen is allowed to request this under section one of the afore mentioned act. One Garda refused to produce theirs and said “I’ll produce it down at the station” – but that is not what the law as written, allows to happen. If a Garda decides to use the Public Order Act as a method to arrest someone under it, they must upon request immediately produce their Garda I.D. card or else what they are ordering of a citizen under the act is potentially not then enforceable. This is a very important legal point of law.
- Recording still going…
The customer politely asked for their I.D. – the other Garda presented theirs. The customer then asked a VERY IMPORTANT question at a VERY IMPORTANT time.
“Under what section of the act…” was he being threatened with arrest? The customer quoted the act (see below for greater details). The Garda were stumped. It struck them the man knew the law.
Because in fact, NONE of the section applied to the customer, the Garda had no choice but to completely drop the wrong tried on accusation and their threathening of arrest under the act. They turned, got in their Garda car and drove off. Their misuse of the Public Order Act has been caught by the customer (and also caught on video with audio sound). It’s suspected by the customer that the Garda realised that if they chased the matter (wrongly), they would have further created a massive legal issue, got caught for it and possible exposed in the courts of Ireland for it.
This was all happening because of one day manager who decided to lose their cool under what is still odd circumstances! Why did the day manager not want customers asking when stock was coming in? The day manager declined to explain.
MORAL OF THE STORY. IT PAYS TO KNOW THE LAW.
The Public Order Act continues to be inappropriately applied to many situations today. Those getting away with it, do so because the average citizens don’t ask the right questions at the right time – and others are taking advantage of this. Elected are all too aware this is going on but saying and doing nothing to remedy the current situation.
The customer by the way, is lodging a number of legal complains now and not letting the matter rest. He has one recording of the incident – and unless shop video goes now mysteriously missing, he will have a second to back him up. ALL BECAUSE HE DARED TO ASK A SIMPLE QUESTION.
20 year barman. Re-educated as an I.T. professional, website creator, I.T teacher, digital media management & marketing professional. Studied accountancy, taxation, business management & law. Founder of UnitedPeople political party – click here. Previously the first National Chairman of Direct Democracy Ireland (DDI) & founder of the Louth branch of DDI. Author. Regular contributor to social media. TV & radio guest experiences. Appeared in the Oireachtas & Dublin Highcourts to defend the rights of citizens along with exposing many wrongs. Consistently seeks greater democracy & accountability from all elected levels of Ireland. Currently writing two books, non-fiction “Life Behind Bars” & “Better Tomorrows“.