Four Hawera people were told by a judge to "get with the programme" in which the use of force is unacceptable when it comes to disciplining children.
In the Hawera District Court yesterday, Mark Anthony Joseph Dombroski , 32, and his partner, Renee Maxine Griggs, , 29, were sentenced by Judge Gerard Lynch to 90 and 60 hours respectively of community work and 12 months of supervision for assaulting their children aged 10 and 11.
In two other cases before him, Judge Lynch sentenced Brendon Arthur Kelman , 31, and Craig Michael Kuklinski, 45, each to 50 hours of community work plus nine months of supervision.
Kelman was guilty of assaulting a 10-year-old, while Kuklinski was guilty of assaulting an 8-year-old and a 5-year-old.
The court was told how Dombroski and Griggs had during the past three years used physical force and name calling such as "retard", and "stupid", on a regular basis to discipline their children.
Physical force included hair pulling, kicks in the backside, and slaps.
Judge Lynch told Griggs the names she called her daughter were "nasty things to say".
The court was also told how on one occasion, Dombroski used a fibreglass axe handle to hit his children on the top of their legs in an attempt to break up an argument between them.
The axe handle was also kept in the house by Dombroski to use as a "scare tactic".
Judge Lynch said the disciplinary methods Dombroski and Griggs employed were beyond what "any right-thinking person" would use on their children.
In the Kelman case, the court was also told of how he had yelled and slapped his daughter on the side of her head after losing his temper.
Judge Lynch noted some force had been used on the girl, causing her to stumble and lose her balance.
Kelman then ordered the girl to her room and as she did, he followed her while trying to administer kicks to her backside and yelling abuse.
Judge Lynch told Kelman: "The law is plain that parents cannot be disciplining their children in this manner.
"Your job is to model good behaviour for your child, not rage like this.
"I don't doubt for a moment that you love your children, but you fell short of what was required of a parent," Judge Lynch said.
Kuklinski was found guilty for using a belt on his son, leaving a red mark on his leg, and for poking his daughter on her forehead, giving her a severe headache.
Judge Lynch told Kuklinski he had to learn new methods in dealing with his children. "You have to get with the programme."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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