Flick gets father charged with assault

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Flick gets father charged with assault

Jan 29, 2008 6:19 PM

Controversy over the new anti-smacking legislation has been revived with police deciding to charge a Christchurch father with assault for flicking his son’s ear.

Jimmy Mason claims he acted to stop his son riding his bike dangerously but police say he will have to argue that in court. 
 
“This is how I describe it, hard enough to stop what he was doing, not hard enough to drop him,” says Mason.

But the incident was seen by several people, including a teacher and an off-duty policeman.

When they reported it, Mason was given a warning and now police want him in court.

He will face two charges of assault, police have revealed. Those charges involve two children.

They are not giving more detail and will not say what convinced them to go ahead with a prosecution. 
 
But it is bringing back all the arguments over the anti-smacking legislation which came into effect in June last year.

“People have just somehow got to begin to learn that it is no longer legal in any way in New Zealand to discipline our children with assault, beating and whacking,” says Sue Bradford, Green MP.

But father of four and anti-bill campaigner Simon Barnett says parents will now fear disciplining their children.

He is calling for a referendum at the next election.

“You know the referendum for me would be a brilliant thing. The government will then hear clearly where the country sits and it’s around 80% of parents – normal average everyday reasonable parents – think it’s ok to lightly smack a child for disobedience,” says Barnett.

Police say anti-smacking legislation or not, Jimmy Mason would still have been charged.

He will appear in court next month.

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