Newstalk ZB 3 June 2012
The Prime Minister’s being challenged over his statement that light smacking of children is ok under the law. Family First says it’s essentially “a crock”. It’s citing the case of a mother who had to go all the way to the Court of Appeal to get an acquittal, after she admitted lightly smacking her eight year old son. Family First’s Bob McCoskrie says the case is another example showing the smacking law isn’t working.
Smacking conviction overturned on appeal
Radio NZ 3 June 2012
A woman whose eight-year-old son was hit twice on the bottom with a belt on one occasion last year has had her conviction for assault quashed by the Court of Appeal. The result is being welcomed by advocacy group Family First which says it shows how confused the 2007 child discipline legislation has proved to be. During the incident the woman asked her partner to administer the punishment, which he did. Both were convicted in the District Court and sentenced to community work. The partner was subsequently cleared on appeal to the High Court. The woman has now been discharged by the Court of Appeal but has already served her sentence and lost her job. The Court of Appeal says her penalties were out of all proportion to the gravity of the offending. Family First director Bob McCroskie says the case involved an extremely difficult child for whom the mother had repeatedly sought help, but none was available. He says there is a lack of support for parents who are struggling. Mr McCroskie says the legislation is confused and needs to be precisely worded.
Parents’ hell after choice to strap child
Sunday Star Times 3 June 2012
A mum’s “considered decision” to strap her son led to an assault conviction, and a judge told her that thinking about it first made it worse than if she’d done it in anger. The woman and her partner, both South Island teachers, were convicted after they strapped their 8-year-old son, over his pyjamas, with a belt in January last year. But after taking their case all the way to the Court of Appeal, they were discharged without conviction. Anti-smacking law critics say the case is an example of good parents being criminalised, contrary to assurances from politicians when the law came in.
…(The mum) said she was overjoyed at being discharged after “a year-and-a-half of hell”. She said when the anti-smacking law was introduced she thought it would stop people from abusing their children. “I didn’t for a second think I would get criminalised.” Family First director Bob McCroskie said the case showed the law “coming home to roost”. “This mother has had her career damaged, lost income and faced legal fees, and it’s caused irreparable damage to the family. “She was honest, asked for help, went to professionals who never came running with assistance – but were quick to prosecute.” “The warning to all good parents from this is to be careful what they admit.”