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Bradford dismisses bid to undermine S59 repeal

2 March 2007

Bradford dismisses Copeland bid to undermine S59 repeal

Green Party MP Sue Bradford dismissed as "ridiculous" and "wilfully misguided" the attempt today by United Future MP Gordon Copeland to sabotage her bill to repeal S59 of the Crimes Act, calling it "a desperate last throw of the dice, based on flawed legal reasoning".

"The example given in the legal opinion is of a child being placed on a naughty mat. Let us be clear about this. Parents who put children on a naughty mat are not going to be prosecuted or criminalized," Ms Bradford says.

"My bill, as amended in select committee, explicitly states that parents can use reasonable force on several grounds, including 'preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in offensive or disruptive behaviour, or 'performing the normal daily tasks that are incidental to good care and parenting'.

"Assaulting a child is already illegal. I am taking action, with the support of many MPs from right across Parliament and the support of the wider community, to remove a defence that has seen some parents get away with severely beating their children.

"I am pleased that the police will continue to investigate complaints of assault against children. Unlike Mr Copeland, I am encouraged by the expertise that the Police have developed in handling sensitive issues of domestic violence, and feel reasonably confident they have the ability to differentiate between false and real complaints.

"I would not like to live in a society where abuse complaints against children went un-investigated. Unlike Mr Copeland and his legal advisor, I don't believe we should shrink from investigating abuse complaints just because parents may be at loggerheads, or because children's views may initially be at variance with adults.

"Gordon Copeland's legal adviser Peter McKenzie QC, is no stranger to conservative moral crusades, having represented the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards in its campaign against the film Baise-Moi and in its attempts to get anti-gay videos into schools, and other groups like the anti-abortion campaigners Right to Life.

"I prefer the expert legal consideration given to my bill during the select committee process by the Law Commission experts, that included Sir Geoffrey Palmer."


ENDS

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