Monday, September 11, 2006

police confirm that if Section 59 goes, smacking parents will be charged with assault


This just in from Police Deputy Commissioner Peter Marshall, who wrote to me today.
If Section 59 of the Crimes Act is repealed then Police could very well
charge parents with assault on their children, if the particular circumstances warrant the intervention of the criminal law and such action by Police is deemed to be in the public interest.

A prosecution is not commenced by Police unless Police consider that there is admissible and reliable evidence an offence has been committed and that the evidence is sufficiently strong to establish a prima facie case.

What this means is that if there is a complaint, there is a prima facie case, the courts could convict, sentence and set a common law precedent on the first smacking case, meaning subsequent smackers also get convicted, no matter how light the force was.

EPOCH, based on this letter from police, maintains it is unlikely that parents will be prosecuted should Section 59 of the Crimes Act be repealed,because police will consider the force used in the circumstances - meaning that if the force does not warrant a conviction they`ll turn a blind eye to the law.

Top level police have told me that parents could very well be charged with assault for lightly smacking their kids should Sectin 59 be removed from the Crimes Act. If the courts say that light smacking should lead to conviction, the police will prosecute irregardless of the force and the circumstances, particularly as CYFS will make damn sure that they do. I believe the police, not EPOCH.

5 comments:

Nigel Kearney said...

Excellent work. Surprising that the police are so candid regarding something that it contentious and still hypothetical.

Murray said...

Are the courts to set aside two days each week to process the parents?

Are they all going to be fined and this is a new revenue gathering exercise?

Are CYFS going to kidnap evert child "victim" untill they have total state control of every citizen under the age of 12?

Anyone else really not all that comfortable with politicians trying to bulldozer through law changes that they claim will be fine because the police will turn a blind eye to it?

Anyone else smell bullshit?

Anonymous said...

police confirm that if Section 59 goes, smacking parents will be charged with assault

and

If Section 59 of the Crimes Act is repealed then Police could very well charge parents with assault on their children, if the particular circumstances warrant the intervention of the criminal law and such action by Police is deemed to be in the public interest.

What you said and what the Police Deputy Commissioner Peter Marshall said are two different things.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous( the other one)

"could very well" is more likely to be interpreted as "will" than "will not", if certain factors are met. Certainly, it is not "unlikely" as Epoch has said.

So not nearly as different as EPOCH, and a lot more accurate summation of the parts of the Police letter that Dave posted.

Genius said...

I considered this to be rather like an episode of "the sheild" in that the law creates a "catch all crime".

If a parent has a child then they have a very high probability they have in some regard assaulted it. The threat of procecution for that crime may be used to leverage the parents to uncover other crime.

(For example - "we won't change you for assaulting your kid if you tell us about your drug dealer").

defenses like "I only smacked lightly" or "I had to restrain him for his own safety" - can then be answered with "we can charge you anyway".

that appears to be the design of the law - despite appearing to be directly opposed to the principles of the green party strangely.