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Lyndon Hood: Police Trial Vindicates s59 Amendment

Anti-Smacking Amendment Vindicated By Police Trial!

Satire by Lyndon Hood

The debate over changes to section 59 of the Crimes Act was marked by concern that ordinary parents, going about their everyday business of hitting their children, would be criminalised.

The more pointy-headed supporters of the amendment had a response. The "loving smack" championed by the bill's supporters - perhaps we imagine it as a slightly grumpy sort of caress - would be so minor and forgivable a technical assault (as if I were to slap your wrist for trying to navigate away from this column) that no judge or jury in the land would convict. And hence, it isn't properly illegal.

This position has been spectacularly vindicated by a recent court case. If it's not assault to repeatedly baton and pepper spray a man who was offering no harm to himself or others - just imagine what you can do to your child!

I'm sure the nation will be as reassured as I am by this verdict.

Parents can relax. If they judge appropriate parental disciplining of some misbehaviour requires physical violence, or the deployment of low-level weaponry, they should do what seems best at the time. Parents do, of course, make on-the-spot calls like this every day.

And, though parents have special obligations which the court will no doubt recognise (and, under the current section 59, special protection), that applies to all of us. Meeting not going well? Hit somebody! It seemed like the best solution at the time! Then, if they don't like it, hit them again!

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I'm sure the nation will breathe a sigh of relief as the burden of nanny-state state interference is lifted from their acts of interpersonal violence.

Not so anxious about that referendum now, are we?

In closing, I would also note the Falwasser case adds a new argument in favour of smacking your children.

In a world where it's so hard to imagine what a police officer could do in the course of their duties that would qualify as assault, being belted by a rogue parent is the least of their worries.

It'll be good practise for them.

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