Two police officers have been charged and will face court after an 8-year-old Aboriginal boy was allegedly left alone in the "rear pod of a police caged vehicle" for almost an hour.
The boy was put into the back of a paddy wagon when he was picked up by an officer at Coraki in northern NSW on April 13 at around 1.30pm.
He was suspected of committing malicious damage and was taken back to Coraki Police station, where he was allegedly left in the back of the police car, apparently forgotten. He was left there for "a period of about 50 minutes", a NSW Police statement said.
The boy's mother told the Northern Star in April she left work as soon as she heard her son had been put in a paddy wagon.
She said she searched around town for the 8-year-old but no-one seemed to know where he was, until she went to the police station.
"Whilst I was there, I said 'where's my son'," the boy's mother recalled.
"The police officer said 'I'll just ring up and check' and walked outside. Walked to front [of the car] and opened the door, then walked to the back and there my son's jumped out of the back of the bull wagon.
"He was all full of sweat, he looked hot, he was shaking, he was crying. I was just all hysterical. I grabbed him and we just couldn't let go of each other. I just felt like I was in a bad dream."
When the boy was released, he was examined by paramedics and found to be uninjured.
Police launched an internal investigation into the incident and two officers were placed on "restricted workplace duties".
On Thursday, two male senior constables were charged with neglect of duty and leave child in motor vehicle causing emotional distress over the incident.
Both officers are expected to appear in Lismore Local Court on November 22.