Crown concedes error in smacking case

ONE News October 19, 2010
  The Crown has conceded there was a miscarriage of justice in the trial of a Christchurch musician who was convicted of assaulting his four-year-old son. James Louis Mason was found guilty at a Christchurch District Court trial last year of punching his son in the face and pulling his ear in December 2007. During the trial, Mason denied punching his son but said he did grab his hair and flick his ear. He said he should have been charged with two separate offences, not one for both the punch and the ear pulling. The jury was told that only one element was required for a guilty verdict. Mason appealed and represented himself at the Court of Appeal, which upheld his conviction and sentence of nine months’ supervision and an order to undertake programmes as directed by the Probation Service. Mason then took his appeal to the Supreme Court, where he was represented today by Wellington barrister Greg King. Crown solicitor David Collins QC conceded to the court that there had been a miscarriage of justice because the trial judge had not directed the jury to reach a unanimous verdict on both elements of the offence.