Carer ‘stabbing’ case dismissed

NZ Herald Oct 28, 2010
A judge has thrown out the prosecution of a caregiver who poked a jagged broken pen into a boy’s leg “to teach him a lesson”, leaving him bruised but not badly injured. The case in the Waitakere District Court appears to set a precedent that could let other parents escape conviction for what are technically minor assaults against their children under the controversial 2007 “smacking” law. But Lorraine Cummins, the Henderson mother who poked the boy with the pen, still had to endure a night in a police cell and spend $3500 on legal fees before Judge Ian McHardy threw out the police case against her. Family First director Bob McCoskrie, who cited the case in full-page advertisements on Tuesday as one of seven new examples where the new law was penalising good parents, said other parents had been convicted for similar minor assaults. “So it could have gone either way,” he said. “You still run the lottery of whether the judge thinks you are ‘preventing’ or ‘correcting’ [a child’s behaviour].”