Assault charge against father seen as test case

The Press 30 January 2008
Christchurch professional musician Jimmy Mason has been charged with assaulting his two children in what Family First says will be a test case for the anti-smacking law. When he spoke to The Press this month the 49-year-old Christchurch man admitted to flicking his three-year-old son’s ear to reprimand him for riding dangerously near a busy street next to the Bridge of Remembrance on December 19. Mason, who complained about the way the incident was handled by the police, said he flicked son Seth after a biking accident involving his two-year-old son, Zach, who had injured his eye. Mason was given a warning by police after the incident, which he wanted removed from his record…..

Family First national director Bob McCoskrie was astounded to be told Mason had been charged. “That’s amazing,” he said. “That’s going to be a test case. I think everybody has been waiting for a case like this to go before a judge so we can get a new interpretation of the law. It’s an uncertain law, which is the worst part of it. Some say it totally bans smacking and some say it doesn’t.” McCoskrie said his organisation could be interested in helping Mason, although it had not yet been asked to do so. “From the initial report it didn’t seem that serious, but it would depend on the facts.”