'Kidnapped' former solicitor flushed with success

A RETIRED solicitor who practised in Bulwell has won his legal battle against a cafe-owner who "imprisoned" him for refusing to pay to use his toilet.

Geoffrey Parkinson, president of Mapperley Rotary Club, was collecting money for charity when he called into the Green Parrot Cafe on Mapperley Plains to go to the loo.

After spending a penny, he was then confronted by cafe-owner Neil McGreevy, who would not let him leave until he had paid the 1 levy imposed on non-cafe customers who use the toilet.

Mr McGreevy then prevented Mr Parkinson from leaving the cafe for about 40 minutes until the ex-solicitor managed to escape.

The cafe-owner said he acted "as a matter of principle". But a furious Mr Parkinson decided to sue him in the civil courts – unless he paid 200 to Rotary charities.

And when Mr McGreevy stuck to his guns, the case was brought before Mansfield County Court last Friday when Judge Phillip Head ruled that there had been an unlawful and false imprisonment.

He ordered Mr McGreevy to pay Mr Parkinson 250 in damages, plus 7.62 in interest and 100 in costs.

The court heard that Mr McGreevy had introduced the 1 charge for non-customers to prevent people from coming in off the street to use the toilet.

He said between ten and 15 people per day would come in the cafe to use the loo and he demanded the 1 when they tried to leave.

"It was a question of intimidation," said Mr McGreevy. "I just stood in front of them and they usually paid up."

However Mr Parkinson told the court that he had been given permission by a shop assistant to use the toilet. He stated the girl had said: "Of course, there is no charge for the toilet because you are collecting for charity."

But Mr McGreevy over-ruled her decision and ordered him to pay up.

Mr Parkinson, who is also a member of Woodborough Parish Council, refused to cough up and Mr McGreevy called the police.

The court heard that Mr Parkinson made several attempts to get past Mr McGreevy but was unable to leave the cafe. He then told other customers that he was being held prisoner.

Mr Parkinson finally escaped when Mr McGreevy moved away from the cafe entrance and, two minutes later, the police arrived.

Officers told Mr McGreevy he had wasted police time and had no right to detain Mr Parkinson, the court heard.

Speaking after the hearing, a defiant Mr McGreevy revealed he would fight on. He said: "Mr Parkinson still owes me 1 and the police still own me an arrest. Whether I get either of them remains to be seen.

"I'm disappointed that I didn't get the chance to say everything I wanted to say. I won't be leaving it there. I will look to see if I can appeal against the decision. Today's a sad day for shopkeepers."

Mr Parkinson refused to comment.