Saturday, November 15, 2008

Crown refuses to offer evidence in smacking case

A man hit his son on the bum with a wooden spoon. The boy rings the police. So when the police lay six charges, what does the Crown do?

It refuses to offer evidence believing the boy's own complaint is not in his best interests in proceeding with a conviction, despite the police deciding that it was. The Crown decided not to give evidence after appearing before a judge. But nobody bothered to tell the accused why the Crown failed to give evidence.The judge discharged him.

The police said this was a clear case where the interests of the child had to take precedence but waited to say that after the Crown appeared before a judge, several months after the offences. So why weren't the charges dropped? Can't have been a very clear case - at least to the police. If police believe the offence is in the best interests to prosecute, but the Crown doesn't think it is in the best interests of the child to offer evidence, that is police or Crown incompetence at best and harassment at worst.

Family First's Bob McCoskrie should be making some PR mincemeat out of this case rather than merely adding it to his growing list of smacking prosecutions.

update: The man has now lost custody of his son even though charges are dismissed. Child, Youth and Family (CYF) has interim custody of the boy. His father can't contact him without consent and supervision. The boy is living with the man's sister in Nelson.




Blogger Steve Withers said...

Looks to me like a difference of opinion. These things happen from time to time. Either way, we don't really know what the father did to the kid....but we do know the police felt it sufficiently serious to bring charges.

That is quite rare before the child has been battered to death.

The law appears to be working well.

November 15, 2008 at 9:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the child has been taken away by CYFS, just because they were smacked, the law certainly is not working well.

Dave, could you provide a reference for the child being in the care of CYFS? That isn't mentioned in the articles you link to. This is a major point and it would be great to be able to verify it. Thanks.

November 15, 2008 at 1:26 PM  
Blogger Swimming said...


November 15, 2008 at 3:46 PM  

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