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Flick on the Ear – Prevention or Correction?

Gordon Copeland Press Release
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, 15th January 2008

Flick on the Ear – Prevention or Correction?

Independent MP Gordon Copeland believes that the latest incident involving a Christchurch dad who gave his son a flick on the ear demonstrates the shambles which has been created following the passage of Sue Bradford’s “anti-smacking for correction” Bill.

“The new law continues to permit parents to use reasonable force in a number of circumstances,” said Mr Copeland. “For example, a smack, and probably also the ‘flick on the ear’ at the centre of this case, continues to be lawful if it is for the purpose of preventing harm to the child, a criminal offence, or disruptive behaviour. It also remains allowable for the performance of normal daily tasks ‘that are incidental to good care and parenting’.”

“However, having set all of that out clearly, the Act then states that all of these actions are criminal if they are for the purpose of correction. In my view this creates an absurd and contradictory situation.”

“In this particular case was the ‘flick on the ear’ to prevent harm to his younger brother, or for the purpose of correction? Who is to decide? Talk about badly written law. It is a shambles.”

“In these circumstances Police may decide not to prosecute – in reality they probably have no idea whether or not the case would succeed – but, as Jimmy Mason has pointed out, the net result is that he still has a ‘potential child abuse’ warning on his record.”

“I will continue to fight to see this Act substantially modified or repealed.”


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