Friday, June 02, 2006

Hassalled: a brief fisk

Ian Hassall may be hightly qualified, he may be a researcher but he is a bit of a dumbass for writing his article in the Herald today. He compares child discipline with Tana Umaga's handbag incident in a Christchurch bar. He notes that both are assaults, but neither will be prosecuted by the police, because they issue discretion.

He's wrong. Police could not possibly issue discretion against Tana Umaga because no assault charge was laid. Perhaps if a charge was laid they may well have. Police would not prosecute the parent and gain a conviction because child discipline is not illegal.

Hassall says the Umaga incident undermines my argument that it is illogical to have a law if the police will be expected to exercise discretion in prosecuting it.

I never said that. I said to pass law which would ban parental phyical discipline on the grounds that it is abuse is illogical. The intent of our assault laws was that police should prosecute. The intention of the repeal of section 59 of the Crimes Act is that police should not prosecute in most cases.

Thousands of assaults take place on rugby fields, in bars and elsewhere, Hassall says. He claims they are not prosecuted because the police exercise their discretion. Surely he knows that police have to be aware of an assault to exercise discretion.

Hassall says it is a matter of record that most injuries to children to the point of homicide began as an intention to inflict punishment that was considered by the perpetrator to be legitimate – until it escalated into something else.

So can he name just one case. Just one? Lillybing, perhaps - her first word was "fuck", she was beaten to a pulp. Her parents weren't even parenting her. Perhaps Hassall says she was " disciplined to death". But he wouldn't - because he doesn't use the word discipline in his article.

Hassall maintains child punishment happens when parents are angry. If they are angry, it's not correction, it is abuse. Abuse is already illegal.Taking out anger and using discipline for correction are quite different.

Hassall asks "Is the fact that in each case (child discipline and Umaga's handbag incident) the assailant may have been angry or drunk a good excuse? This, from a senior researcher at the AUT!!

No its not, Mr Hassall. People don't discipline their children with reasonable force in the circumstances - for the purposes of correction when they are both angry and/or drunk. Furthermore, nobody has even used the defence of reasonable force after angrily hitting their child when drunk - and even if they did, it would be unsuccessful

Finally, Hassall says a programme to inform people of the true implications of the repeal of section 59 is needed once it has been discarded.

Perhaps it is needed now - to inform people like Ian Hassall.


chevyc said...

check out the Umaga handbag t-shirts ..

ZenTiger said...

Good points. Seem bleeding obvious to me, and this is very scary that someone like Hassall is so out incapable of clear and rational thought.