A District Court judge and police say the prosecution of a man who insisted he had flicked his son's ear, only later to be convicted of punching the child in the face, was never a test case for child smacking laws.A punch is a violent act and deserves a prosecution and a conviction. A smack for corrective purposes is not a violent act and should not result in a prosecution and a conviction.
The case was widely seen as a test of the anti-smacking laws because Mason publicly claimed that he had done no more than administer a flick on the ear.
But Christchurch District Court Judge Michael Crosbie said the matter would have been dealt with in exactly the same way before the introduction of the smacking legislation.
"It remains a case of an assault on a child, as it would have prior to the legislation being enacted," he told Mason at sentencing.
"You don't accept the facts but you do say that in hindsight you should have been able to manage the situation in a calmer manner and not reacted in the way you described."
Judge Crosbie said a discharge without conviction was not appropriate. "It is clear the jury found there was a punch and you admitted as much to the police."
The Judge knew the difference. Therefore this guy would have been convicted under the old section 59. If that is the case why was it changed again?