Father pushed 7-year-old over

The Dominion Post 23 June 2009

A case cited by the pro-smacking lobby as it launches its referendum campaign involves a father who repeatedly pushed his seven-year-old son to the ground because he refused to play in a rugby game. Disputing that the so-called “anti-smacking” law is working, Family First director Bob McCoskrie said it had sent the Government “evidence of six prosecutions of good parents for smacks an open hand smack on the leg, on the arm, on the bottom”. “I think the evidence is there. We’ve sent evidence of families being referred to Child Youth and Family and children being removed while investigations are taking place just for smacks. “In fact, there’s a case today in Lower Hutt District Court of a father trying to get his son on to the rugby field and giving him a few shoves and he’s being prosecuted for common assault.”

Glenn Groves, 44, of Wellington, pleaded guilty to assault in Lower Hutt District Court yesterday but will undergo an anger management course in a bid to get discharged without conviction. In May he and his young son were at a rugby game at Lower Hutt’s Fraser Park, but when the boy refused to play because he was missing part of his uniform, Groves became “extremely agitated” at his attitude, court documents show. Groves laid a hand on his back to redirect him, but as the boy resisted he fell. He stood up three times and was pushed by his father, falling to the ground each time. After a bystander complained to police, Groves admitted pushing his son. He told police he was “tired and determined that his son would not let the team down”.

Mr McCoskrie said the charges laid against Groves and several other parents for lightly smacking their children proved police were taking far too heavy an approach. “I’m amazed they would take a family through the court process which is a traumatic experience when they could have worked with them. If they are happy to accept a discharge without conviction, then why lay charges in the first place?”