Prosecuting a 17-year-old for an underage love affair was a "last resort" for police despite the teen's mother laying an official complaint, a court has heard.
It was after police decided against charges that Inspector Hurimoana Dennis and Sergeant Vaughan Perry allegedly kidnapped the teen to scare him off the relationship with his then 15-year-old girlfriend.
Both officers were charged over the incident and are now on trial in the High Court at Auckland before a jury and Justice Edwin Wylie.
The teenage boy's mother had filed a formal complaint with police about her son, alleging he was having a sexual relationship with a minor.
After police decided against a prosecution, Dennis, a family friend of the boy, organised for the teen to be taken to the Auckland Central Police Station cells on May 5, 2015 in a "mock arrest", the court has heard.
The teen was processed by Dennis, the national Maori strategic adviser, and Perry, the duty custody sergeant, as if he had been arrested.
This morning the jury visited the cramped cells at the police station before Detective Sergeant Neil Hilton, the officer tasked with the mum's complaint, was called to give evidence.
Hilton said because of the small age difference between the two teens a prosecution "would have always been a last resort".
He felt Dennis' actions were "exacerbating the ongoing angst between these two families".
Crown prosecutor Brian Dickey said yesterday the 17-year-old was told by Dennis to leave for Australia and start a new life or be charged with statutory rape.
The mock arrest also led to the teen being forced to remove his clothes and to believe his details were being entered into the police's database for offenders, Dickey said.
After agreeing to leave for Australia, the teen was escorted to Auckland Airport and placed on a flight to Sydney.
On June 10, 2015 the 17-year-old tried to "escape" back to New Zealand but Dennis "swung into action", the court has heard.
The inspector made contact with the officer in charge at Auckland International Airport and arranged for armed police to usher the teen off the aircraft.
The boy was then told by Dennis not to come back to the country until he was 18 and returned him to Australia.
When back in Sydney, the teen claims he was assaulted and fled to friends of his girlfriend's mum before reporting the scenario to New South Wales Police.
Dennis was stood down from his duties in September 2015 shortly after a complaint was laid by the teen.
Stephen Bonnar QC, Dennis' lawyer, said yesterday that the senior officer was trying to "prevent another young Maori male becoming another statistic in the system".
The trial continues.