The Press 14 January 2008
A Christchurch father is fuming after he received a police warning for hitting a child after he flicked his son’s ear in public as a reprimand. Professional musician Jimmy Mason flicked the ear of his son, Seth, at the Bridge of Remembrance just before Christmas after the three-year-old disobeyed his instructions while riding his new bike. The toddler took off down a ramp and was followed by his brother, Zach, two, who was also on a new bike. Seth made the tight corner but Zach did not, and injured his eye. “Seth just wanted to go on riding. He didn’t realise the seriousness of it with the youngest one slipping in and out of consciousness,” Mason said. “So I turned to Seth and flicked him on the ear and told him to shut up while we fixed up the young one,” Mason said.
A nearby teacher took umbrage, an off-duty policewoman rang the incident in and in minutes later Mason was surrounded by six police officers. “They were going to arrest me and were trying to ascertain whether it was safe for the kids to go home with me,” he said. “It was pretty bizarre to tell you the truth.”
I said to the cops that I need to impress upon him (Seth) what he did was wrong and I need to impress it on him straight away and asked them how they suggested I do it. “They didn’t know and I said to them, ‘Well, you’ve just told me what I did was wrong so you must know what is right’.” In the end, Mason was not charged but he was told that a warning would go on his record for hitting his child. “It needs to be on record that I disciplined him for something he deserved, not that I’m a child beater.