Monday, July 6, 2009

ZenTiger How many times exactly?

So, how many times over the 20 years before the repeal of section 59 have parents who have used excessive force managed to get off scott free by arguing the force was "reasonable" and for the purposes of correction?

300? 700? 900? 4?

Do those that are comfortable with the law making the use of any "force" (including threats) for the purpose of correction illegal actually know what they are talking about?

9 comment(s):

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Anonymous said...

Okay, I'll bite. How many people have successfully used old S59 as a defence?

Actually, I'm surprised the 'No' campaign have not used the Official Information Act to request this data from the Justice Ministry or Dept of Courts. It is kinda pivotal to the whole law change. And it shouldn't be blocked by the Privacy Act - we don't need to know full details (or any) of the cases; just what the outcomes were.

ZenTiger said...

Hi Sqauredrive, I'll update you after I've let the post sit here a little bit longer. You never know, an investigative reporter might come across this post as they "research" those strange people that seem to think they can tell the difference between a smack and child abuse; that understand the abuse of the state when they make laws like this (in spite of the naive altruism they use as an excuse); that think discipline (correction) should not be made illegal; that physical discipline is just as valid as psychological discipline as a tool for teaching and setting boundaries; that bad parenting is a problem, one that does not need to be equated to abuse, and solved without making being an imperfect parent illegal; and realise that "being physical" in life isn't a bad thing to be feared - we all take knocks from sports and play, so a smack is hardly the crime of the century.

Of course, ending up in court to defend against a smack creates cost, stress and social stigma. Serious punishment before the judge feels pressured into finding a parent "guilty". Just collateral damage in the relentless march of the "we know better than thou" socialists and left wing liberals (an almost oxymoronic combination)

Lindsay said...

I understood it was only a handful. And of those not convicted, a number (unknown to me) were found 'not guilty' by a jury.

BJ said...

Maxim Institute did alot of home work on this. Can’t recall the exact figures but remember it was very low. For the sake of discussion lets call it “x.”
Now we need to appreciate that it doesn’t matter how low “x” is, the
the antismackers will say that X, is X too many.(They are really reasonable like that)

The reality is that no law is perfect, and I don’t doubt that some scum bags have possible got away with it. But does that warrant "throwing the baby out with the bath water" ?
One of the tests as to the effectiveness of any law is surely to ask "how does it stack up against legislation in general"?EG people are charged with murder, drunk driving, rape, theft etc and get of on a technicality but that doesn't trigger abandoning the principle behind the law.

Similarly, nor should it in respect of smacking. The more I reflect on the old law the more I see the wisdom behind it. It had the capacity to bend and flex with the times, meaning if Society as a whole decided to recalibrate what crossed the threshold of "reasonable in the circumstances" then this would be reflected in Jury decisions.

BJ said...

ZEN TIGER Could you flesh this out a bit "...Serious punishment before the judge feels pressured into finding a parent "guilty".


ZenTiger said...

Hi BJ. Perhaps badly put (the perils of a quick comment) so I'll add more commentary:

the "serious punishment" portion was the point that ending up in court can be punishment in itself. This time, one is defending against allegations of child abuse without the expectation of needing physical evidence.

So the latter part is my theorising that judges will be expecting to apply the law according to an interpretation that conforms to society's expectation that anyone using a smack, however trifling, is breaking the law because a smack for the purposes of correction is spelled out as being illegal. Indeed, any action for the purposes of correction is illegal.

The latest fluff piece by the human rights council makes that clear, and suggests that parents can go to court and argue on the other provisions if they want to avoid prison.

I'm not saying judges are pressured into particular verdicts, I'm saying that the new law, as it is written, is clearly defining correction (discipline) as illegal, with a few weasel words to ignore the infringement on ambiguous grounds.

For example, if it is in the "public interest" for a case to be brought to trial, then the judge is going to be aware of this. He or she is going to be aware that a "firmer" reading of this ambiguous law is required.

I don't have the full details of the recent Mason case unfortunately, but I'm prepared to make a guess that the "punch" Mason delivered to his son's head did not result in hospitalization and did not lead to any sign of physical damage. I daresay the crying stopped pretty quickly as shock set in when (was it 6?) cops showed up to arrest Mason.

Yet the portrayal of the act has been to imply considerable force.

If it didn't require any treatment, and there was no evidence of harm, was it really therefore a punch in the way most people understand a punch to the head of a 4 year old?

MK said...

Sounds like it's an unnecessary law Zen, hardly a reason for mad leftists to abandon it you know.

BJ said...

Thanks Zen Tiger.I see where you are coming from.BJ

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