Charge puts family ‘through hell’

The Press 27/05/2010

A Christchurch father was “furious” at being imprisoned and losing custody of his child after being charged with assaulting his son. The father, whose name is suppressed, was given a discharge without conviction on Friday in a case that could have been a test of New Zealand’s anti-smacking laws. The father was held in custody for at least one night and separated from his four-year-old boy for two weeks under bail conditions that were later relaxed by the court. “He was furious originally because he was in prison for GBH [grievous bodily harm] and lost custody of his child and all because he was trying to calm a child,” defence counsel Jonathan Eaton said. Police alleged the man slapped his son on the head in North Hagley Park in January, but Eaton said the father was trying to calm a major tantrum. The child has since been diagnosed with a severe behavioural problem.

Family First national director Bob McCroskie said the family was “taken through hell” by the court case.