Dad wins appeal over judge’s assault case gaffe

NZ Herald Nov 4, 2010
A Christchurch man has had his conviction for assaulting his 4-year-old son quashed on a technicality. James Louis Mason, 53, 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. He was acquitted on two other assault charges. Mason, a musician, denied all charges but said he pulled the child’s hair and flicked his ear to stop him going back into a dangerous situation on his bike. He was sentenced to nine months’ supervision and an order to undertake programmes as directed by the Probation Service. Mason’s was a high-profile case because it was one of the first to go through the courts after the anti-smacking law change. …
Later in the day, the instigator of the removal of the “reasonable force” defence, Sue Bradford, said the smacking law was irrelevant to the Supreme Court decision and she would be concerned if opponents used it to lobby against the legislation. Mr Mason’s lawyer, Greg King, also said the decision was not related to the anti-smacking law but was simply a matter of court procedure. He told Radio New Zealand he was pleased the matter was now behind Mr Mason. Family First head Bob McCoskrie said the case should ring warning bells for parents about the way police were applying the law. When the case was appealed to the Supreme Court, the Crown admitted there was a miscarriage of justice in the case.