Smacking acquittal outrage – Sue Bradford v Jury of 12

Sunday Star Times 20/03/2011
A JURY has set a new benchmark under the so-called “anti-smacking” legislation by acquitting a father even though he admitted tying his son to his wrist, shaving his hair off, and washing his mouth out with soap. The lead juror in the child cruelty case said she was “embarrassed to be a New Zealander” because the couple on trial were “good decent parents trying to instil a sense of responsibility”. But former Green MP Sue Bradford, the law’s architect, said she was ashamed people thought such actions were acceptable. To her they amounted to assault. The father and his new wife were found not guilty after a trial on 15 charges alleging cruelty against two children from his previous marriage. The children were aged 10 and under at the time. The couple’s lawyer used Section 59 of the Crimes Act, the amendment championed by Bradford, as a defence. The case tested the amendment and showed what a jury would allow in terms of “justified force” to prevent or minimise harm, or to stop the child engaging in “offensive or disruptive behaviour”.
…Family First director Bob McCoskrie said: “This family has been put through hell for almost two years, after being charged for typical parenting practices on unsubstantiated claims made by unreliable sources. And they have been completely and utterly acquitted by their peers in a prolonged court case.”