The High Court has upheld the right of police to use force to eject troublemakers from pubs and stop them re-entering.
It came in an appeal of Luton Magistrates' ruling that a police officer acted lawfully by forcefully restraining a man who tried to re-enter a pub after being escorted out.
In the case, a police officer escorted a man out of an unnamed pub after he refused to leave.
Outside, the man said he was going inside to hit someone and the officer held him back, at which pointed he hit the officer and was arrested.
At the High Court, the Crown Prosecution Service said section 143(4) of the Licensing Act gives the officer a duty to help eject people from licensed premises when asked to do so, and obliged them to stop re-entry.
The man, known as Mr Semple, said the officer was not allowed to use force outside an arrest because section 143 contained no reference to the use of force.
Dismissing the appeal, Lord Justice Moses and Mr Justice Hickinbottom said the aim of 143 was to make it a crime not to leave a licensed premises when asked to do so by the licensee, staff or police. Therefore, police had the implicit duty to stop re-entry, the judges ruled, and were entitled to restrain Semple, especially after he made the threats.
Legal expert Jeffrey Leib, vice-chairman of the Institute of Licensing, said the ruling could prove a boost to National Pubwatch's Court Not Caution campaign, which says anyone who attacks a licensee or member of pub staff must face court.
Leib said: "It shows that not only will the courts back a licensee if they are the victim of crime, the police have the powers to deal with problems in the pubs."