Anti-smacking charges dropped against dad

Last updated 17:21 10/04/2008

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One of the first people charged under Green MP Sue Bradford's anti-smacking legislation has had charges against him dropped.

Initially the 30-year-old Glen Innes man was accused of hitting his five-year-old daughter with an open hand on the back of the head and swinging a pair of jeans at his six-year-old daughter, hitting her on the side of the head just before Christmas.

He denied the allegations and when the matter came to trial before Judge Anna Johns in Auckland District Court today, the police offered no evidence and the case was dismissed.

The summary of facts had originally claimed the man was "enraged".

Outside the court, the man's lawyer, Tony Bouchier, said that the man had only exercised reasonable discipline on the children.

His client had pushed one of the girls to get her to hurry for school and threw the jeans at the other to get her attention.

Mr Bouchier, who is critical of the "domestic violence industry", said he supported the referendum to have the anti-smacking legislation repealed.

"When the whole issue was being discussed in Parliament and in public, they said that minor matters would not end up in court, it would only be the serious ones," he said.

"I am not condemning the police for protecting children, but the public were given assurances that the police would consider this law carefully, and in this case they have not."

Mr Bouchier said that the man was a good and loving father.

He did not live with his children but arranged to take them to school and pick them up every day.

It was "valuable time" for him.

Mr Bouchier said that it was not the mother of the children who complained, but her sister.

He said there seemed to be some animosity between the father of the children and the sister who had interfered.

"This type of discipline is probably meted out to children every day in New Zealand."

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- NZPA

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