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If Section 59 of the Crimes Act is repealed then Police could very well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letter from police, maintains it is unlikely that parents will be prosecuted should Section 59 of the Crimes Act be repealed,because police will consider the force used in the circumstances - meaning that if the force does not warrant a conviction they`ll turn a blind eye to the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