Monday, 7 May 2007

Section 59


In my opinion, until they define "correction" and declare whether it includes concepts such as "discipline", "training", "chastisement" and "punishment". We simply cannot know what is in store for us. In addition, "force" is generally understood to be physical force, but the definition of "assault" in the Crimes Act includes even the threat of force and even a gesture on the part of person B where person C interpret's B's gesture to be a threat, even though person B had not
that intention!!

In addition to all of this, is it not true, do you not read it so, that given the bill to be voted on soon now reads:

Parental Control

(1) Every parent of a child and every person in the place of a parent of the child is justified in using force if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances and is for the purpose of --

(a) preventing or minimising harm to the child or another person; or

(b) preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in conduct that amounts to a criminal offence; or

(c) preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in offensive or disuptive behaviour; or

(d) performing the normal daily tasks that are incidental to good care and parenting.

(2) Nothing in subsection (1) or in any rule of common law justifies the use of force for the purpose of correction.

(3) Subsection (2) prevails over subsection (1).

(4) To avoid doubt it is affirmed that police have the discretion not to prosecute complaints against parents of any child, or those standing in place of any child, in relation to an offence involving the use of force against a child where the offence is considered to be so inconsequential that there is no public interest in pursuing a prosecution.

given that since subsection 2 condemns the action of parental correction, and given that subsection 3 says subsection 2 must prevail over subsection 1; is it not logical to say that should a jury be undecided as to whether the force used was for this new "evil" called "correction" of an offensive behaviour or whether is was just to "prevent" an offensive behaviour (a la subsection 1c), does not subsection 3 REQUIRE the jury to settle on the "correction" interpretation and therefore find the parent guilty of correction? That is, does not this bill say that when reasonable doubt exists, the jury is required to find the parent guilty, even though in all the rest of our law system, juries cannot find you guilty unless it is proven BEYOND
all reasonable doubt?

It seems this bill is totally and completely unworkable, except, just as Police Commissioner Broad has said, they will work it out with the help of the courts and the police complaints authority....meaning, family after family will be ground up through the system so that they can work out the required definitions and settle on some useful precedents.

Very scary.

Craig Smith

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