A BURQA-CLAD mother of seven who claimed she was the victim of mistaken identity has been jailed for six months for making a false complaint against a police officer.
Magistrate Robert Rabbidge dismissed Carnita Matthews’ allegations that a highway patrol officer was racist after he pulled her over for a Random Breath Test and claims he forcibly tried to remove her face veil as false.
In sentencing her, he described her actions as “both deliberate and malicious” saying he had no option but to sentence her to jail given the seriousness of her allegations, and to send a clear message to the community.
A second woman, also wearing a burqa today who was supporting Matthews in court broke down in tears as she was removed by Corrective Service officers.
Matthews was charged in June after allegedly falsely claiming that a highway patrol officer handled her in an attempt to see her burqa-hidden face during a random breath test.
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She pleaded not guilty.
After arriving at Campbelltown Local Court yesterday with an identically dressed friend, Matthews watched the in-car police video of her being pulled over and asked to lift the burqa so the officer could verify her licence photo.
Her claim that she had not signed the Statutory Declaration outlining her complaint were rejected with Magistrate Rabbidge saying the signature on it was almost identical to that on her driver’s licence.
The court was told that after being issued an infringement notice for not properly displaying her P-plates, the 46-year-old branded the officer “a racist” and claimed he only booked her because of what she was wearing.
“I’ve got my P-plates on my car … there was nothing wrong with how they were displayed,” Matthews said on the video.
“You look at me and see me wearing this and you couldn’t handle it. All cops are racist.”
The court heard that Matthews then drove to Campbelltown police station to complain that she was unfairly treated by the officer.
Giving evidence yesterday, the station officer who took the complaint said he had told Matthews the officer had been right to ask for identification.
In a statement read to the court, Sergeant Paul Kearney said he told her: “I’m looking at you and all I can see is two eyes.”
However, the court was told that an officer who three days later accepted a statutory declaration from a burqa-clad woman he assumed to be Matthews failed to check her identification.
Matthews’ lawyer Stephen Hopper said there was no way for police to prove that his client was the one who signed the statutory declaration at Campbelltown police station on June 10.
Mr Hopper said that meant Matthews should not have been charged with the offence of making a false complaint to police.
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