Re: the smacking bill

From: Matt
Sent: Friday, May 04, 2007 9:25 AM
To: mike; Dave
Cc: Bob; Craig; David; James; Greg; gordon.copeland@parliament.govt.nz;
peter.dunne@parliament.govt.nz
Subject: RE: mckee – Re: the smacking bill

Gentlemen

Why has no-one taken up the point that there is more problems with the
bill than just the removal of the "reasonable force" defence?

The bill also removes the capacity of pleading "justification". The use
of the word "justified" in S.59 is highly significant.

S.2 of the Crimes Act 1961 defines the use of the word:

"Justified, in relation to any person, means not guilty of an offence
and not liable to any civil proceeding"

This totally contradicts the statements of the Prime Minister when she
says that smacking is already a crime under the Crimes Act. It is
clearly not a crime, as the Crimes Act specifically states that the
person is not guilty of an offence.

Remember, we are presumed innocent until proven guilty: if someone
commits an assault on a child, then they are liable for a penalty of up
to two years imprisonment under S.194 of the Act. But they are presumed
innocent until this is proven.

If however I have given a mild physical discipline onto a child (a
smack, picked her up and placed her in time out, etc.), then according
to the Crimes Act THIS IS NOT ASSAULT. It is a justified act, with no
Actus Reus, no Mens Rea, therefore no crime.

Please note that the penalty for assault on a child is double the length
of time of penalty for standard assault onto an adult. This again
contradicts what both the Prime Minister and Sue Bradford have said:
under the current status, children have more protection than adults, not
less.

If the logic that the Prime Minister is using is true, then it is
plausible that we should then:

*reduce the penalty for an assault onto children to one year, as
parliament intends to give them the same protection as adults

*get rid of the protections for minors under Ss.21 and 22: children will
have to be tried as adults

*presume that everyone who is accused of committing an assault onto a
child is guilty before being proven innocent.

All of which is insane. Which is what I think the bill is anyway, along
with its proponents!

The bill is not preventing abuse: it will create abuse of parents, of
the legal system and of our children.

Matt

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