Families Warned Pillow Fight May Be Assault

Family First NZ says that a decision to drag an uncle through court for having a pillow fight with his nephew is an example of the ‘discretion’ test failing and laws such as the anti-smacking law effectively targeting good parents.

The case was thrown out in the Wellington District court today just before the trial by jury started.

“While we acknowledge that this uncle is no saint, the facts of this case and the evidence presented to the police clearly shows that this was no assault yet the police proceeded with a prosecution right through to a trial by jury,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“It is incredible when a harmless playful gesture between an uncle and a nephew with a soft pillow becomes an assault charge, and suggests that the zero tolerance policy for family violence is overriding discretion and a common sense approach. It also shows confusion over the definition of violence.”

“Police effectively don’t have discretion. This reinforces why many people want the anti-smacking law changed to bring certainty to what is or isn’t allowed rather than depending on the ‘inconsequential’ test. Parents deserve that measure of certainty as to how the law will be applied.”

“Fortunately the court has seen the facts for what they are, but that may come down simply to who the judge was on the day.”

“Parents who previously had faith in police discretion have every reason to be hugely concerned by this case,” says Mr McCoskrie.
ENDS