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Copeland welcomes Law Commission letter

Wednesday, 14th March 2007

Copeland welcomes Law Commission confirmation concerning 'time-out'

United Future MP Gordon Copeland today welcomed Sir Geoffrey Palmer's letter in relation to 'time-out' for corrective purposes to Labour MP Lynne Pillay.

"The letter makes it clear that Sue Bradford's Bill is not just 'anti-smacking' but rather 'anti-all-forms-of-child-correction'," said Mr Copeland.

"Sir Geoffrey Palmer's (President of the Law Commission) comments are illuminating in that regard.

"He states categorically that for "a majority of the members (of the Select Committee considering the Bradford Bill) the outcome sought was a prohibition on the use of force against children for corrective purposes. We were consequently delighted to receive Mr McKenzie's independent confirmation that this objective is achieved by our proposed draft."

"This is exactly the point I have been making.

"Taking a child to 'time-out' involves the use of force so, if the purpose of the 'time-out' is to correct the behaviour of the child, it will, under Sue Bradford's Bill, be a criminal act that exposes parents to prosecution for assault.

"The original Law Commission report to the Select Committee in November 2006, the opinion of Peter McKenzie QC, and the further letter from Sir Geoffrey Palmer mean that this conclusion is unambiguous and categorical.

"Sue Bradford has made it abundantly clear that it is also her position.

"In these circumstances I repeat my challenge to those Members of Parliament who are intent on voting the Bill into law. If this is your intention then please come out and say so in equally clear and unambiguous language. Fudging the issue is no longer good enough."


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