Thursday, July 16, 2009

Prominent QC criticises Sir Geoffrey Palmer’s work

An article in the Press yesterday [PDF] by QC Grant Illingworth said that the law that banned smacking is inappropriate. In the article titled Good motive, but bad law, Illingworth, who specializes in public law, says that the anti-smacking law is bad law and is not an adequate response to child abuse.

This is despite Sue Bradford saying that her law was not supposed to minimise child abuse, after saying that it was. Bradford also said smacking was not a crime, then said it was. Parliament said it shouldn't be, but made it so.

One of the aspects to the law Illingworth appears to be criticising is the police discretion clause. This clause, written by Sir Geoffrey Palmer, is basically a suggestion and an abdication of parliamentary responsibilities in favor of the police taking power over innocuous behaviour that should not be criminal.

Illingworth says the amendment is an extremely poor piece of legal drafting in that it is calculated to create confusion rather than clarity, it criminalizes behaviour which should not be classified as a criminal offence, and it fails to provide adequate protection for those whom it was designed to help.

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