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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Police Commissioner's Office: smacking your child will be assault if S59 is repealed

11 August 2005

Mr Craig Smith
National Director Family Integrity
PO Box 9064
Palmerston North


Dear Mr Smith,

On behalf of the Commissioner I am writing in reply to your letter of 26 July 2005 concerning Section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961.

As you will be aware, section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961 authorises parents to use force by way of correction towards their children, if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances. If section 59 was repealed in its entirety parents would not be authorised to use reasonable force by way of correction. Having said this, I am advised that parents would still be authorised to use force to prevent harm to their children. For example, if a parent stopped their child from running out onto a busy road or stopped their child from climbing over a balcony on a building.

However, smacking of a child by way of corrective action would be an assault. I am advised that the Police in investigating such cases, as is the case with all assault investigations, would consider the amount of force used in the circumstances before making a decision about whether a prosecution is required in the public interest. An aggravating factor in any such decision may be the fact that a child is generally more vulnerable than an adult.

I trust this matter clarifies this matter for you.

Yours sincerely,
A Jack (Dr)
NM - Legal Services
Office of the Commissioner
Read more here.

Posted by Antarctic Lemur | 8/16/2005 08:32:00 PM

3 Comments:

Blogger Chefen said...

What a farce.

I am advised that the Police in investigating such cases, as is the case with all assault investigations, would consider the amount of force used in the circumstances before making a decision about whether a prosecution is required in the public interest.

So they are removing "reasonable force" as a defence but then transferring that exact judgement to the investigating police. What genius dreamt this up? Rather than having it open in a court it all gets tidily swept away onto the poor PC doing the investigation. That'll be just great for equal justice, if you've pissed off the investigating officer then say bye bye to your kid because there isn't any defence after that.

Having said this, I am advised that parents would still be authorised to use force to prevent harm to their children. For example, if a parent stopped their child from running out onto a busy road or stopped their child from climbing over a balcony on a building.

Well what a relief that is clarified! Good thing he got the advisory otherwise mothers everywhere would be stricken with anxiety over the uncertainty of whether to yank the kid away as he headed for the motorway.

8/16/2005 08:51:00 PM  
Blogger Gooner said...

Great find AL.

The mind truly boggles.

8/16/2005 09:35:00 PM  
Blogger Lucyna said...

This is good. Something to link to, to hit the anti-smacking brigade over the head with. Metaphorically, of course.

8/16/2005 09:37:00 PM  

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