A Sydney man who was ejected from a Parramatta pub because bouncers thought he was drunk has been awarded a $20,000 payout by the courts.

Johnny Raad was at the Albion Hotel with his wife Ann in June 2012 when a security guard ordered him to leave and refused to allow him back inside because he was "intoxicated".

Raad had only drunk a glass of Victoria Bitter and had just purchased a second - of which he'd taken "a few sips" - when he was asked to leave.

Raad complained to police that he had been assaulted by a security guard, while another had been walking "menacingly" toward him, but instead of a sympathetic ear, he was issued with a ticket for not leaving the hotel.

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When it looked like he was walking in the direction of the hotel, the 46-year-old was handcuffed and put in a police van. He then spent two hours at Parramatta police station.

District Court judge Matthew Dicker found that amounted to unlawful arrest, because police had no plans to charge him with staying close to a premises he had just been asked to leave from.

"A person cannot be arrested merely to prevent the continuation of offence if the police do not intend to charge the arrested person with the offence," Judge Dicker said.

The offence was not one punishable by imprisonment, the judge found, adding police used "excessive force" when they pushed him into the van.

The judgment said there was no evidence Mr Raad had more than one drink as he claimed, although it was reasonable for both the security guard and the police to think he was intoxicated.

Judge Dicker said it was "unwise" for Mr Raad to stay close to the pub after the altercation, and noted he was in an emotional and worried state when he made the complaint to police.

However, Judge Dicker found his evidence to be "honest" and awarded him $20,000 for false imprisonment.

"The freedom of a member of the public is important and arrests must take place for valid and lawful reasons," Judge Dicker said.

He said several police officers were involved in arresting Mr Raad, despite him not resisting them "in any way".

However, he rejected a claim by Mr Raad of malicious prosecution saying the arrest was "not undertaken with malice" but brought with "reasonable and probable cause".