Quaise Khademi, a 23-year-old from Hackney, has pleaded guilty to battery, after footage of him slapping an alleged shoplifter went viral. The footage shows him repeatedly slapping the other man, and saying: "You ever steal again, I'll slap the f*** out of your face, you understand?" and "You don't steal from this shop, it's not a f****** ordinary shop! Learn from me, bruv."
In total Khademi slapped the man 11 times, while he stumbled around the shop in East Ham. Another shopper filmed the incident on their mobile phone, and the footage went viral last weekend.
The Metro reported that Khademi pleaded guilty to battery and a public order offence at Thames magistrates' Court.
Khademi wasn't actually the owner of the store. He didn't even work there and was standing in for a relative. Nevertheless, The Evening Standard reported that as a result of the incident, Costcutter has severed all ties with this independently run franchise.
A spokesman said: "We want to make it absolutely clear that we find the events within this video totally unacceptable and there is absolutely no place for it within our business. Having investigated the events leading up to and after the incident, we have decided to end our franchise relationship with the store owner and therefore, effective immediately, this store will no longer be part of the Costcutter brand and network." All Costcutter branding has been removed from the store.
It isn't the first time that a shopkeeper has taken the law into their own hands, and it isn't the first time a shopkeeper has been charged with assault as a result. One of the problems is that while the law clearly makes excessive force a crime, it does allow "such force as is reasonable in the circumstances." This could, for example, mean using force to detain a shoplifter who is trying to run away and is violently resisting an attempt to restrain them.
However, if store security guards or owners overstep the mark and use more force than a reasonable person would consider sufficient, they will then be guilty of a crime, and subject to arrest for assault.
It's why the police urge shopkeepers to focus on prevention rather than retaliation. Deputy Chief Constable Sue Fish, the National Policing Lead for Retail Crime, said earlier this year: "Police have been working closely with businesses and retailers for several years, including British Retail Consortium, to help them prevent theft whether from stores or online. Stores need to ensure that they have the right security and working practices in place and heed advice to prevent them from being targeted."
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