Ex-cop sentenced over her relative's illegal strip-search
AN off-duty police officer who "educated" her misbehaving 11-year-old relative by having him locked up at the Hobart Remand Centre and allowing him to be strip-searched has avoided conviction.
Maurine Riziki, 29, pleaded guilty to common assault in the Hobart Magistrates Court today following her attempts on January 14 to curb the child's "very troubling" and "naughty" behaviour.
Prosecutor Rebecca Lancaster told the court Riziki told her family she would take the boy to "look at the cells" after claims he pushed his grandmother over, had been stealing and was bullying children at school.
At the remand centre, Riziki used her police access card and took the boy out the back, showing the guards her badge to gain access. Riziki told the guards the boy had been abusive, that he had been "setting fire to things" and that she wanted him treated like an adult inmate, Ms Lancaster said.
A prison officer thought the boy was in lawful custody so he took the child away and strip-searched him, she said.
The guards soon released the child when they put a query through asking for the boy's paperwork and discovered he hadn't been charged.
"He told police it was scary, that he was in a cell by himself and that he felt lonely," Ms Lancaster said, adding the child didn't know if he would be able to leave.
She said Riziki told police she simply hoped the boy "would change his behaviour".
"She said she just wanted him to be educated that if he continued with such behaviour, he'd end up in the cells," Ms Lancaster said.
"At the time she didn't believe she was committing a crime or doing anything wrong."
She added Riziki was under pressure from her older family members to take the boy away "and discipline him".
Defence lawyer Greg Barns said Riziki was born in the Congo and had spent nine years in a refugee camp before coming to Australia in 2006 and was now working as an advocate against racism and a volunteer to help other migrants in Tasmania.
Mr Barns said Riziki had "noble aims" in joining the police force, but had since been dismissed and her dreams "shattered".
Magistrate Michael Daly said Riziki's character had previously been "beyond reproach" and noted she had no prior convictions.
"I don't believe any 11-year-old should be searched in a custodial setting such as this, ever," he said.
"You subjecting him to that is a most serious situation indeed. It's a serious and terrible way of assaulting someone."
He decided not to record a conviction, but ordered Riziki be of good behaviour for two years and pay $105.80 in court costs.