In this instance, two major torts, namely the tort of false imprisonment and the tort of battery are involved. The former occurs when the narrator is detained by the public, shopkeeper and the constable. The latter arises with regards to the actions of the clerk.
False imprisonment could be defined as an act of the defendant which directly and intentionally (or possibly negligently) causes the confinement of the claimant within an area delimited by the defendant1. When the narrator was seized by the private citizens and confined in the shop by the shopkeeper and the constable, it was an intentional act on the part of the defendants to confine the narrator. This satisfies the basic quality of the tort of false imprisonment, which requires the act to be intentional such that it substantially effects the confinement2. In Bird v Jones3, Coleridge J said that “Imprisonment...includes the notion of restraint...by some will or power exterior to our own.” Going by this judgement, it is certain that the narrator was imprisoned by the defendants since her liberty of movement was severely constrained by them.
As per Wright v Wilson4, the first requirement of this tort is complete restraint. Since the narrator was detained in a shop by the police constable who refused to give her liberty to even send for friends, it goes to show that the first requirement of complete restraint was satisfied. The second requirement is knowledge of the claimant of the restraint. In Murray v Ministry of Defence5, the House of Lords stated knowledge of detention is not necessary for false imprisonment. Lord Griffiths said that total restraint would suffice since liberty of the individual is so important6. Hence, both the requirements for the tort of false imprisonment are satisfied. However, this does not mean that the narrator has an actionable suit.
The main question with regards to the tort of false imprisonment is who is liable since in the given instance. One group is the mob of...