- someone is found damaging (or committing some other offence to) the citizen's property [Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA) s 76]
- a person is attempting to commit an offence, but once a person stops the attempt, the power to make the arrest ceases
- if the citizen is offered property that he or she reasonably believes is stolen [Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA) s 77]
- a store detective or security guard arrests a person committing an offence against his or her employer.
Suspecting someone of having committed an offence is not enough for a citizens arrest. The civilian must see the offender commit the offence. Anyone exercising a power of arrest must be careful because a person wrongly arrested can sue for false arrest and obtain damages or compensation. If a citizen's arrest is made the arrested person must be handed over to the police without delay and a full explanation given (in writing) of the reasons for the arrest.
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.