BUB STRIP SEARCHED
Family sues cops over roadside ’violation’
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.
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