Rixon v Star City Casino

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Citation: Rixon v Star City Casino (2001) 53 NSWLR 98.

This information can be found in the supplementary materials to LAWS1052 - Introducing Law & Justice.

Contents

Background facts

  • The Plaintiff [Rixon], who was subject to an exclusion order (ie, wasn't allowed in the casino), was playing roulette at the Defendant's premises [Star City Casino].
  • He was approached by an employee of the Defendant [Mr Sheldon].
  • Mr Sheldon placed his hand on the Plaintiff’s shoulder, and took him to a room.
  • He was detained in the room for approximately 1.5 hours whilst waiting for the police to arrive.

Argument

  • Plaintiff argued that:
    • Sheldon's act of putting his hand on his shoulder gave rise to assault (as it aroused fear of imminent harm) and battery (since it was direct interference with the Plaintiff's person).
    • In detaining the Plaintiff, the Defendant's employees acted outside of the powers given to them by the Casino Control Act 1992. The Plaintiff's detention was therefore unlawful and amounted to false imprisonment.

Legal issues

Judgment

Battery

  • The trial judge held that anger or a hostile attitude is a necessary ingredient of battery. This was wrong, it is not necessary.
    • 'The absence of anger or hostile attitude by the person touching another is not a satisfactory basis for concluding that the touching was not battery...any touching of another person, however slight, may amount to battery'.
  • Generally any form of contact can be battery, with the exception of conduct which is ‘generally acceptable in the ordinary conduct of everyday life’.
    • This means that some conduct is presumed to be made with the consent of the plaintiff, and is therefore not battery.
  • In this case, the conduct of Sheldon was to engage the Plaintiff's attention and

was generally acceptable in everyday life. There was no battery.

Assault

  • Assault requires an intent to induce apprehension of physical violence in the mind of the plaintiff.
    • 'Proof of assault requires proof of an intention to create in another person an apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive contact...proof of the assault does not require proof of an intention to follow it up or carry it through'.
  • In this case, the alleged act of assault (placing the hand) lacked this intent. It was merely meant to get the Plaintiff's attention.

False Imprisonment

  • s 84 of the Act very clearly states that the person designated could detain the suspected person on reasonable grounds. The Plaintiff was not detained for any longer than was necessary; detention was on reasonable grounds, and the police were notified immediately.
  • Thus, the detainment was not unlawful and there is no false imprisonment.

References

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