Saturday, August 26, 2006

the law and the judiciary

Anti-smacking group EPOCH has had a letter from the Police clarifying the law should Section 59 of the Crimes Act be repealed. This section allows for a defence of reasonable force when smacking children. The police, in an earlier letter to Craig Smith, from Family Integrity, said that parents would not be authorised to used force by way of correction.

However Mr Smith may have asked whether parents would be breaking the law and face the possibility of being charged. A better question would have been whether Poilce will actually prosecute lawbreakers, which is the question EPOCH asked under "likely police response". Both replies from the police had this statement.
Police would consider the amount of force used in the circumstances before making a decision about whether prosecution is required in the public interest"

However someone needs to ask this question: If the law is broken, and the police have decided that prosecution is required based on the force and public interest, would it then push for prosecution if there would be no guarantee that the judiciary will convict?

If the answer is no, as it surely will be, this will further indicate that prosecutions are not based on lawbreaking, they are based on whether the judiciary is likely to convict. This is why the judiciary should be using its clout to uphold the law and provide good case law precedents, and interpret the law, rather than re-interpreting it when it's meaning is quite clear.

Then police would be more likely to press charges as they will be more likely to secure convictions. If police are not likely to get convictions for light smacking, then the law should not be changed to ban smacking, because the law will be an ass. Some people in this country (who don't vote Labour) actually want to abide by good responsible law.

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