BUB STRIP SEARCHED

Fam­ily sues cops over road­side ’vi­o­la­tion’

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - FRONT PAGE - BRENDEN HILLS CHIEF COURT RE­PORTER

A TOD­DLER is su­ing NSW Po­lice after he was strip searched by an of­fi­cer on the way to vis­it­ing his dad in jail on Fa­ther’s Day.

The 16-month-old boy was trav­el­ling with fam­ily mem­bers when their car was pulled over by po­lice un­der­tak­ing a prison con­tra­band blitz.

The fam­ily is mak­ing a claim for dam­ages, ar­gu­ing the search was a “fla­grant dis­re­gard of the law” and “af­fronts moral­ity”.

A TOD­DLER is su­ing the state after he was strip searched by po­lice on the way to visit his dad in jail on Fa­ther’s Day.

The boy was 16 months old when a po­lice of­fi­cer al­legedly re­moved him from the cap­sule in his aunty’s car and took him to a po­lice bus near Kempsey Jail on Septem­ber 2, 2018.

In­side the bus, the in­fant’s fam­ily claim the fe­male of­fi­cer re­moved the boy’s nappy and clothes be­fore in­spect­ing his naked body and gen­i­talia, court doc­u­ments said.

The fe­male of­fi­cer who al­legedly con­ducted the strip search was the sub­ject of an in­ter­nal po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which up­held two com­plaints against her, in­clud­ing that it is il­le­gal to strip search a child un­der 10.

At the time of the search, NSW Po­lice and Cor­rec­tive Ser­vices were con­duct­ing a screen­ing op­er­a­tion out­side the prison tar­get­ing of­fences, in­clud­ing the smuggling of drugs and con­tra­band into the prison.

There is no sug­ges­tion the fam­ily were try­ing to use the baby to com­mit this or any other of­fence and they were not charged.

Un­der the tute­lage of his mother, the boy has now launched le­gal ac­tion against the state in the NSW Dis­trict Court — which hears claims be­tween $75,000 and $750,000 — for false im­pris­on­ment and bat­tery.

The fam­ily are mak­ing a claim for ex­em­plary dam­ages with the doc­u­ments say­ing the of­fi­cer “out­ra­geously and dis­grace­fully” strip searched the boy in an act that “af­fronts moral­ity” with “fla­grant dis­re­gard” for the law.

The in­fant’s lawyers Todd Scott and Dean Wood­bury al­lege the of­fi­cer broke nu­mer­ous laws re­lat­ing to po­lice ar­rest pow­ers. “Strip search­ing a oneyear-old baby is a dis­grace­ful vi­o­la­tion of some­one who … is com­pletely in­ca­pable of as­sert­ing or de­fend­ing their ba­sic hu­man rights,” Mr Scott said.

Po­lice are yet to file a de­fence with the court and said it was in­ap­pro­pri­ate to com­ment while the case was be­fore the courts.

The boy’s aunty has also launched le­gal ac­tion claim­ing she was strip searched and forced to squat and cough while naked.

Ac­cord­ing to doc­u­ments filed with the court, the boy’s two aun­ties were driv­ing him to the mid north coast Cor­rec­tional Cen­tre at 10am to visit his fa­ther who was in prison.

Po­lice stopped the car near the en­trance to the jail and di­rected the two women to exit the ve­hi­cle, the baby’s state­ment of claim said.

The in­fant re­mained in the car and, after about 15 min­utes, the doc­u­ment claims the of­fi­cer re­moved him from the car and took him to a nearby bus.

On the bus, the fam­ily claim the of­fi­cer re­moved the boy’s clothes and nappy be­fore in­spect­ing his naked body and gen­i­talia.

Ac­cord­ing to the state­ment of claim, the search was il­le­gal and there were nu­mer­ous other breaches of the law that amounted to wrong­ful im­pris­on­ment and bat­tery.

The aunt, who was 17, also claims she was il­le­gally strip searched and is su­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to her state­ment of claim, this was a breach of the law be­cause the strip search of a mi­nor can only be done in the pres­ence of a par­ent, guardian or ac­cept­able third party.

The teen also claims po­lice breached laws re­quir­ing them to “pre­serve” her “dig­nity” dur­ing a strip search and use min­i­mal in­va­sive­ness. The mat­ter is listed for a call-over hear­ing at Port Mac­quarie Dis­trict Court in Novem­ber.

On the eve of the re­lease of her most per­sonal al­bum yet, Aus­tralia’s favourite popstar re­turns to the place that in­spires her. “Touch the base from its base and you will feel ev­ery­thing you need.”

IN­TER­VIEW IN STEL­LAR MAG IN­SIDE

Pic­ture: Steven Chee

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