Family First wrong on smacking prosecutions
Bob McCoskrie from Family First has been issuing multiple media releases claiming - and hoping - that police have been prosecuting parents for light smacking. He claims there have been eight prosecutions in the past six months for smacking, with the implication that these eight were heading down the road to a conviction for smacking.
So why hasn't the MSM reported on it? McCoskrie's wrong and has misinterpreted the response to his own OIA, that's why. Shame, really as on the whole he does a pretty good job.
The OIA response is as follows: one, two, three, four, five, six.
Much of the relevant information has been publicly available for a month, and I blogged on it here. Police have divided corrective discipline into "smacking" and "minor forms of physical violence", the latter rate having gone up every quarter, but although cases have been investigated, the "eight prosecutions" were not smacking cases as they either had no inconsequential or corrective discipline component - they were upgraded to assault. The facts are as follows:
1. All 13 child smacking cases reported to police resulted in no further action because they are acceptable smacks and should never have been investigated to start with.So McCoskrie has a point here.
2. Of the "light acts of physical discipline" cases that were were followed up by the police, eight warranted further action and are the ones that McCoskrie is claiming are "smacking cases. All eight were upgraded to assault before they were prosecuted. None have yet been convicted, one got diversion and one got the charges withdrawn. The other six are awaiting their fate. None would have been prosecuted had the charge been upgraded to assault but McCoskrie didn't tell you that, and neither did Whale Oil who posted this from the OIA.
So, eight were charged with assault - assault of a kind that is not inconsequential and would no doubt have failed a Section 59 defence. Three were not convicted and five are awaiting the outcome of their cases. They were not smacking prosecutions because they were not assaults with a corrective action component and McCoskrie is creating a fallacy in repeatedly claiming that these are smacking cases that would have succeeded a defence of reasonable force - a defence of an action that must have a corrective component and be reasonable in the circumstances.