A senior police officer elaborately faked the arrest of a teen, threatened him with rape charges and then told him to flee to Australia in a bid to keep the boy away from his underage girlfriend, prosecutors say.
But defence lawyers deny the allegations and say Inspector Hurimoana Dennis was just trying to keep a young man from committing a crime.
Dennis and Sergeant Vaughan Perry are standing trial accused of kidnapping a then-17-year-old - who cannot be named - in May, 2015.
Opening the case for the prosecution on Monday, Crown lawyer Brian Dickey told the High Court at Auckland the teen's parents disapproved of his 15-year-old girlfriend, leading to disputes.
The teen's mother went as far as to file a complaint with police, alleging her son was sleeping with his underage girlfriend, whose family he had moved in with.
This led to a police investigation but no charges, Mr Dickey said.
It was at this point, prosecutors say, Dennis, a friend of the teen's parents with no formal part in the case, got involved, organising for the boy to be brought to the Auckland Central Police Station for further questioning.
"It wasn't his responsibility to be investigating this crime and it never had been," the Crown lawyer told the jury.
Upon arriving, the teen was confronted by a uniformed Dennis in an interview room, and then threatened with being locked up, Mr Dickey said.
"[He was] told he could go to Australia and start a new life or he would be charged with statutory rape."
Dennis and Perry, the officer in charge of logging arrests on the day, then "processed" the 17-year-old, taking his property, pretending to enter details into a police computer and then locking him a cell, Mr Dickey said.
"He was not under arrest and he was not okay with what was happening."
After about 10 minutes, the prosecutor said, the distraught teenager agreed to leave the country and was sent to live with family in Sydney under strict conditions.
A month later, he would flee back to Auckland, only to be met at the airport police station by Dennis, who put him back on the next flight to Sydney and told him not to return until he turned 18, Mr Dickey said.
"This is about that young man's rights and the abuse of power by a serving senior police officer."
But defence lawyer Stephen Bonnar, QC, said Dennis - an officer of 30 years and national Maori strategic adviser - was just trying to keep a young Maori man from becoming a "statistic".
"Was it, as the Crown would have it, part of a dastardly plan? ... Or was it, as the defence says, him trying to help a 17-year-old Maori boy who was committing an offence?"
Dennis disputed he had threatened to bring charges, was just warning the young man and had actually been thanked by the teen for his advice, Mr Bonnar said.
"It's very much in dispute [the teen] didn't know what was going on ... He knew. He consented."
The trial continues.