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‘Punch in the face’ dad guilty

Written By: - Date published: 8:25 am, May 20th, 2009 - 90 comments
Categories: child discipline - Tags:

What’s wrong with The Herald? Their articles Jimmy Mason on the father who punched his child in the face – and pulled him by the ear, and picked him and his brother up on their bikes and slammed them down – has described him as the ‘ear-flick’ father.

The headline today is ‘Ear flick father found guilty of assault’, ignoring the fact he was found guilty of punching a four year old in the face. Why not the ‘punch in the face’ dad? That would have been more accurate.

In fact, it takes until the third paragraph until the article bothers to mention the punch in the face.

As to the substance of the case. It’s a good decision and few would disagree with that. Even Family Fist’s Bob McCroskie has gone from his initial unconditional support for the ‘punch in the face’ dad to muted criticism.

Yes, ‘punch in the face’ dad might have been charged with assault before the child discipline law came in but he might have been acquitted. After all, under the previous law people were getting away with attacking their children with weapons like  horse whips and pipes.

Mason was found not guilty of assault for the bike slams. The jury decided that those actions were too inconsequential. It shows that the law is working: he wasn’t convicted on more minor assaults but he also wasn’t allowed to get away with a punch to the face, which he might have in the past.

[That’s really weird. I’ve reloaded today’s Herald article several times while writing this. The headline changed from ‘Ear flick father found guilty of assault’ to ‘Ear flick father found guilty of assault for punching son’ then back again.. and now back to the second one. What does the physical version say?]

90 comments on “‘Punch in the face’ dad guilty ”

  1. serpico 1

    The court has made another mistake. Great stuff Sue Bradford, thanks for adding to the problems of fatherhood. What a gender bias country of misfits.
    Remember to flick that moron feminist judge.

    • Eddie 1.1

      standing up for the right of adults to punch 4 year olds in the face, eh serpico?

      Are you also one of those leading the howls of outrage when one of those punches ends up with a child being killed?

    • Christopher Nimmo 1.2

      Oh man, I’m so sorry that you are no longer able to legally punch your kids in the face – in public! in front of, IIRC, a police officer and a teacher! That must be tough for you!

      • serpico 1.2.1

        Police officer and teacher, what prime examples of your classic moronic pc feminist robots. I wonder if the deranged court will fine Jimmy who is struggling to bring up five kids? Take the kids food money judge dread !! Go Sue Bradford I hope you rot in hell you twisted bitch!!This country is a social mess and the court is a feminist tool. What a disgusting country saturated with judicial gender bias. When will police arrest a mother for this kind of behaviour, yeah righ – pigs do fly, just ask the Badford bitch .

        [lprent: that is getting very close to my troll standard. It is a rant. Do too many and you’ll see what I do to commentators that I consider are robotic trolls]

        • Christopher Nimmo 1.2.1.1

          If he is fined, I doubt it’ll be more than his WFF entitlements. You know, the ones that those durn pesky socialists gave out?

          You abuse your kids, you pay the price.

        • Chris G 1.2.1.2

          Take your conspiracy garbage back to the fathers coalition, dork.

        • jcuknz 1.2.1.3

          While I do not question the courst I do wonder how any penalty will affect the wife and kids, perhaps by taking money out of the family budget or causing thre father to loose his job with similar financial results.
          I hope there will be a ‘good’ sentance which doesn;t punish the family along with the father.. I’d guess that they are already suffering and have suffered.

          • Lew 1.2.1.3.1

            Looks like it’ll be anger management counselling, perhaps community work, and the judge is leaving the possibility open for a discharge without conviction. I think everyone agrees that Mason should be given a chance to shape up before being required to ship out.

            L

  2. Rakaia George 2

    “The incident on the ramp had not been seen by witnesses at the trial. But they had told of hearing Mason afterwards, swearing and shouting at the boys.” (Quote from Stuff)

    So he’s been convicted of punching his son in the face despite the fact that nobody actually witnessed it? Yet it was an action that was wrapped up in the same charge as the ear-flick that was admitted…WTF?

    • RedLogix 2.1

      That may be bad reporting. It may be that the witnesses did not see the younger child’s initial accident on the ramp when it fell off his bike. The article you are referring to is not very clear.

      • aj 2.1.1

        I don’t think the charge of punching the kid in the face would have stood had there not been a witness.

        One TV this morning the incident was led in by a voiceover talking about Bradford’s amendment while the picture being shown on the screen was the lightest tap on a kids bum by a parent. Talk about subliminal messages here.

        • Christopher Nimmo 2.1.1.1

          If there hadn’t been witnesses – if the police hadn’t know this guy was lying to them and to the media – they would have prosecuted and offered no evidence like in most of these cases.

    • Ron 2.2

      No Rakaia – there were several witnesses. This is just bad reporting.

      It’s an example of several problems with the media response to court cases which also include the pretence that what we read in the paper is an accurate relfection of all the information available to judges and juries and the pretence that what we read in the paper is an unbiased, uninfluenced view.

      So we get discussion like the above in pubs and blogs all over the land

      My response when people ask me if I think Ellis or Baine or whoever is guilty is “How the f*** would I know – I don’t know anything about it. And guess what – neither do you”.

  3. RedLogix 3

    One of the specific clauses in the new law allows some force was for the purposes of preventing or minimising harm. The fact that his lawyer did not use this defence tells us that the ‘punch in the face’ could not be justified to protect the child.

    It is quite instructive while that the father, the defence and the media keep talking about a relatively inconsequential ‘flick on the ear’, while the actual conviction relates to a ‘punch in the face’ as seen by two witnesses. Some is in major denial here.

    • bilbo 3.1

      “One of the specific clauses in the new law allows some force was for the purposes of preventing or minimising harm. The fact that his lawyer did not use this defence tells us that the ‘punch in the face’ could not be justified to protect the child.”

      And this is the critical point !

      It should also be noted that Bradford fought tooth and nail to try and stop that amendment to her initial bill and it’s to Clark and Key’s credit that the clause went into the law.

      • Rakaia George 3.1.1

        Except that Mason’s actions (whatever they were) were clearly after the incident with the younger child and therefore for the purposes of correction or punishment – specifically not allowed under the Bradford law change.

        RL – can you reference these two witnesses? I’m confused by the contradiction between your statement and the media report I quoted above.

        Edit- ah, ok I see your reply to my post now.

      • RedLogix 3.1.2

        Bradford mainly fought against the idea of trying to introduce a definition of ‘acceptable force’ in the Bill, ie a perverse list of ‘three smacks with open hand ok, four not, or using a wooden spoon ok, a horsewhip not’ sort of thing.

        What she was obviously trying prevent was the conservative right hijacking the reform to codify assaults on children, establishing a right to use force for the purposes of correction or discipline… when really none should exist.

        And face it, the guy lost his rag and lashed out. Hell it’s happened to all of us at one time or another… but it was never right.

        • bilbo 3.1.2.1

          Piss off RL you know very well that Bradford was very quick to label anyone who was concerned about the implications of her bill as a supporter of child beating.

          • RedLogix 3.1.2.1.1

            I see Toad has confirmed what I am saying about Braford’s approach in a post below.

          • Spectator 3.1.2.1.2

            Looking at Serpico’s comment, above, I’d say Sue Bradford made a valid point.

  4. toad 4

    Eddie said: What does the physical version say?

    Ear flick father found guilty of assault [headline]

    Jury in smack-law test case accepts claim 4-year-old was punched [subhead]

    • aj 4.1

      Truth in reporting:

      Father found guilty of punching 4yr old son in face {headline}

      Found not guilty of ear-flick {subhead}

  5. forgetaboutthelastone 5

    On sunrise this morning Oliver Driver made a brief point that the ‘anti-smacking’ law was not in fact anti-smacking and went on to explain what it was actually about. Such a relief to finally hear someone in the news media say that. It is just such an obvious point.

    Its no wonder that half of New Zealand think its against the law to smack.

    • aj 5.1

      Agreed and we could start with educating that vacant space Paul Henry who either is that thick he can’t get his head around it or is just playing to the fundies.

  6. serpico 6

    Wonder if we still gold medalists at child abuse Ms Bradford?

    • Christopher Nimmo 6.1

      Why, did you want to join the team?

      I’M wondering whether you’re D4J or just some regular twisted person..

    • Spectator 6.2

      Speak for yourself. The only people I see glorifying child abuse are vermin like McCoskrie.

  7. toad 7

    bilbo said: It should also be noted that Bradford fought tooth and nail to try and stop that amendment to her initial bill…

    She did not. That amendment was suggested at Select Committee and had Bradford’s full support. The amendment that she fought “tooth and nail” to stop coming in (and succeeded in stopping it) was one that would have purported to quantified a level of force as acceptable for the purpose of “correction”.

  8. Jono 8

    I knew Sue Bradford’s daughter Katie at high school. Great kid, no doubt a result of good parenting. Unless you can show anything different Serpico, why not just STFU 🙂

  9. Tom Semmens 9

    *Sigh* serpico/D4J is off the meds. Again.

    • felix 9.1

      He’s following the same m.o. but he doesn’t seem to have Dad’s flair for visually descriptive language, nor his occasionally clever word-plays or his sense of rhythm and meter.

      Maybe we have a copycat troll.

  10. The Voice of Reason 10

    C’mon Serpico, it’s a bit early in the morning for that kind of ranting. The angrier you get, the less sense you make.

    This was not a test case of anything. The guy was convicted for punching his kid in the face. That was against the law prior to the S59 change anyway. He had his day in court and a jury found him guilty. Not the police, not the judge, not the Chch Press, not you, not me, but 12 citizens who got to hear all the evidence.

    They also found that two charges were not proven, so it wasn’t like they had it in for him. The judge has indicated that an anger management course is the likely punishment, which seems a humane and beneficial outcome to me.

    • serpico 10.1

      Did Trevor Mallard have to do a anger management course after his wee incident in parliament?

  11. jarbury 11

    This is a great case for why the s59 repeal was SO IMPORTANT. While this guy would have been charged even if the repeal hadn’t occurred, he may well have got away with this before.

    That’s right, he might well have got away with punching his 4 year old kid in the face.

    Thank god we changed the law.

    • serpico 11.1

      Indeed jarbury a victory for the nanny state at the expense of parental boundaries.
      Well done sisterhood, who would be a dad in this gender bias cuntry?
      God loves gender balance.

      • exbrethren 11.1.1

        Anyone that doesn’t need to hit someone smaller than them.

      • Pat 11.1.2

        God knows I can’t stand Bradford, Serpico, but you cannot defend a father who punches a young child in the face. Take two asprin and have a lie down.

        • serpico 11.1.2.1

          Unlike the Labour party pill poppers, I don’t do drugs.

          • aj 11.1.2.1.1

            Serpico – easy question, yes or no answer. Do you defend a father who punches his 4yr old son in the face. In public.

            Yes or No please.

  12. Pat 12

    Any thoughts on what penalty/sanction should be applied?

    If he is on a low income already, any fine just hurts the family. Jail time is too extreme so I think best penalty would be an anger management and parenting courses, plus some community service.

  13. harry 13

    “who would be a dad in this gender bias cuntry”

    I hope not you but unfortunately I think I hope wrong

  14. jarbury 14

    Serpico, I am a Dad and feel sick at the prospect of anyone punching my 5 year old daughter in the face.

    Any thoughts on what penalty/sanction should be applied?

    I would agree with the anger management sanction. The biggest penalty has surely been the conviction itself and all the media hooplah that has surrounded it.

  15. serpico 15

    Oh well jarbury as I know Jimmy and his children all I can say is well done sick and sinister system, because the kids will be badly affected by parent depression. Just imagine wee Johnny giving them shit in the school yard. Well done you brainless sick bastards! The judiciary breeds resentment.Sue Bradford is not a fit and proper person.

  16. Maynard J 16

    This is impossible to prove, but I would like to point out that this case may never have gone to trial without the repeal of S59.

    • serpico 16.1

      Utter rubbish.

      • jarbury 16.1.1

        So you’re saying that it’s not the fault of the s59 repeal that he got convicted then? Geez what are you saying????

        • serpico 16.1.1.1

          All I am saying is that police and crown law would not have sought a conviction if a mother was in the firing line. Case dismissed. No further comment.

          Captcha = Bent System

    • Don’t think so Maynard J.

      Section 59 previously stated “[e]very parent of a child … is justified in using force by way of correction towards the child, if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances.”

      I don’t know how a punch in the face for a 5 year old could ever be described as “reasonable in the circumstances”.

      The funny thing about this debate is that the wingnuts have been stretching to try and find a case where an “innocent” parent goes to jail for smacking their kids.

      The law was never going to work that way. If you check the Police website there have been a miniscule number of cases that are now caught that were not caught before.

      The important point behind the change is the principle that children should not be the subject of force.

      • Maynard J 16.2.1

        As said – impossible to prove. But police have said that they would not bother with some cases because of S59. No idea whether this was one of them but if they though first up that it was just a flick, then doubtful they would have looked further.

  17. jarbury 17

    So the s59 repeal has nothing to do with your point then serpico?

    Glad to have cleared that up.

  18. serpico 18

    jarbury – the s59 repeal and all the media frenzy was a pathetic attempt at trying to address appalling child abuse statistics.
    It failed much like the Labour government at the election.

    • aj 18.1

      Funny – only failed Labour. Did not fail National who also supported the amendment.

  19. Pat 19

    To look at the wider s59 issue:

    The law has been in force over 12 months and there has been only one conviction, for a father punching his son in the face.

    On one hand, the s59 opponents were wrong because the law change has not led to a wholesale arrest of parents carrying out normal parental discipline of their children.

    On the other hand, only one conviction shows s59 has not led to a reduction in parental abuse of children. One would have thought that police could have used the law against more abusive parents than a ratio of 1 conviction in 1 year.

    • Pat: How do quantify abuse that didn’t happen? I’d be interested to know.

      • Pat 19.1.1

        Abuse of children is going on all the time. Agreed?

        I thought one of main the reasons for Bradfords bill was so it would reduce “smacking” as a defense and lead to more convictions of abusive parents. I also thought this was why police supported the bill. Fair enough, but where are the convictions?

        • Maynard J 19.1.1.1

          Not sure why this is considered a test case. I assume that between then & now there have been many other convictions for child abuse. Remember this is not about a bill, but an amendment to one; there is no ‘new law’ for police to police.

          Note also that there were wildly divergent claims to the actual use of S59 prior to repeal. Anywhere from 14 in many many years, to dozens a year; I have no idea where the truth is in that matter. S59 also being a reason many cases never went to court, according to police. So: very hard to gauge the effect, since no one can agree or at least statistically measure what the repeal was meant to change!

          No baseline, no measurable effect..

        • Ron 19.1.1.2

          The main reason for the Section 59 Ammendment was to remove the defense of “reasonable force” that parents were using to get off charges of beating their children. It also offered the same protection to children from violence as is offered to adults.

          Before that change this man could very well have not been convisted if he could have shown that his punch was reasonable in the circumstances. That’s what was happening and now it can’t.

          The police don’t need to “use the law” of the amendment to arrest child abusers – they could and still do arrest them anyway.

          The rhetoric about the ammenment reducing child abuse came from the opposition not Sue Bradford or the supporters. While she and many others believe that a society that opposees violence must SHOW it opposes violence by protecting everyone and that philosphy is part of the process to reduce violence across – it was the opposition to the ammendment that kept saying “this won’t reduce child abuse”.

        • The Voice of Reason 19.1.1.3

          Wrong, Pat. The intent was stop parents abusing their children, not to get more convictions. It was about making people think about how best to discipline kids without use of force. It appears to me to have significantly helped in that area already just because of the extensive debate.

          Even parents who think S59 went too far or just plain misunderstood it as ‘anti smacking’ have had to think about the alternatives to physical force. It’s a start, it’s a good thing and it ain’t going away.

    • aj 19.2

      ” One would have thought that police could have used the law against more abusive parents than a ratio of 1 conviction in 1 year”

      Or, the amendment to the law has resulted in such a change of parental attitude and response that only one parent has been caught blatantly stepping over the line

      • bilbo 19.2.1

        Yeah right.. haven’t you caught up with any of the sickening child abuse cases over the last six months.

        • Spectator 19.2.1.1

          What about all the sickening child abuse cases where Section 59 was used as a defence, then? I’m surprised you don’t remember the so-called “Timaru Lady” case. That defence is no longer available, and therefore scumbags who abuse children can’t escape justice. That is a good thing.

          • bilbo 19.2.1.1.1

            “………..therefore scumbags who abuse children can’t escape justice. ”

            Does the name Kahui ring any bells ?

          • Spectator 19.2.1.1.2

            Not much a law (or a jury) can do if the Police send the wrong person to court.

            I’d be all in favour of the Police and CYFS being given more teeth and being more pro-active in protecting vulnerable children.

        • aj 19.2.1.2

          ah yes, I have, I agree, the law has caught up with any vicous assaults that have been brought before the courts and this guys actions were only slightly less sickening. Any parent/human who thinks punching a small child in the face is acceptable behaviour needs counselling. Do you think punching in the face is ok, perhaps one punch is ok, 10 is not? where will you draw the line please.

          • bilbo 19.2.1.2.1

            “Do you think punching in the face is ok, perhaps one punch is ok, 10 is not? ”

            Um no why do you think I believe that ?

            I also not sure what you’re comparing this case with – I’d suggest if it was as simple and clear cut as the defendant punching his child in the face it would not have taken the jury nine hours of deliberation.

          • aj 19.2.1.2.2

            I’m trying to determine if you rate this case as sickening child abuse, and if not, where do you set your standard.

            and……

            1 minute to decide ‘guilty on the punching charge’
            8hr 59min deciding on the others.

            Equally as valid as your proposition

          • bilbo 19.2.1.2.3

            “I’m trying to determine if you rate this case as sickening child abuse”

            No – having seen the kids, mother and father on the box it doesn’t appear to be ‘sickening child abuse’

  20. gobsmacked 20

    The jury spent eight hours considering their verdict.

    As this is about seven hours, fifty-nine minutes and fifty-nine seconds longer than the Bradford-bashers on talkback have ever thought about anything, I’ll go with the jury.

  21. The Herald is no longer a credible source of any news where there is a political element to it. They can handle car crashes and house fires…..but not much else.

    They aren’t completely without integrity, but what integrity they do possess isn’t reliable or predictable in the event. The “ear-flick dad” story is an example. They are distorting the facts (again) to push their political agenda…and doing it on the front page in news copy.

    Bad and wrong.

    We have in the past week alone seen them distort (Ear-flick dad), gloss over (Auckland Dictatorship), and bury (Auckland dictatorship) a variety of stories.

    Every now and again I highlight on my own blog one of these examples of what can only really be described as propaganda or perhaps poor judgement. But most of them I just shake my head and give quiet thanks I didn’t give them any of my money on the day concerned.

    • Brian 21.1

      Well said Steve
      Headline should have read. Headline should have read.
      “Father punches four-year old in face! GUILTY!”
      But no money in the truth.

  22. gingercrush 22

    Ooh great its “Bash the Newspaper Day”. Sure the media can be horrible at times. But political blogs in New Zealand could not survive without them. Look at all the posts made here. Nearly all of them contain links to media sites. As for accusations of bias. We have nothing of what Great Britain, the United States or even what Australia has. I know the left thinks the media is bias against them. But the right tend to think media is against them as well.

    • Gingercrush: It’s best if we stick to the facts. I note you don’t address the examples of bias in detail. Hard to refute reality.

      As for the Right saying the media is biased against them….I’m sure they have a good giggle at how clever they are in saying such things. Then their media buddies can say: “Both sides don’t like us, so we must be doing something right.”

      This is why I prefer to stick to specific examples. The evidence of bias . and who it hurts – is quite plain.

      The entire S59 issue is an example of media bias from start to finish. There is no other way to explain why and how so many have such a grossly distorted view of what the old law said and what the new law says….and what it means. The media has failed to communicate the reality there. Such a failure, consistent over time – and failed again on the front page today – is bias pure and simple and they richly deserve being “bashed” for it.

      Do you have any examples of consistent editorial bias against the Right in the Herald? Please demonstrate a consistent pattern over time and across years. Easy to do from the left perspective……but I would think the Right would be scraping to come up with anything.

  23. jarbury 23

    I don’t think Redbaiter epitomises the mainstream right gingercrush 😉 If he does, you guys should be really really worried.

    I imagine “Editing the Herald” will have a field day with this one.

  24. gingercrush 24

    You assume to be factual do you Withers?

    Just listen to Withers for he is factual. Sounds wrong somehow. I dont see S.59 as being inherently left or right. Therefore I don’t consider it to be evidence.

    Jarbury it isn’t just Redbaiter. Redbaiter thinks National is socialist scum. There isn’t much help for him. There i though an underlying thought by many on the right who see the media as being against them.

    I happen to think our media seeks too much sensational stuff and doesn’t provide enough evidence. If there is bias in our media (outside Talkback) that is where its at. To merely smear media as being in the pockets of ring-wingers is simply stupid.

    • felix 24.1

      Totally disingenuous of you gc. You know very well that the right wingers of NZ worked hard to make the repeal of S.59 a battle between the “loony nanny-state-pc-gone-mad” left and the “sensible none-of-the-state’s-business-stop-telling-me-what-to-do” right. The herald with the best of them

      Never happened in gc’s world, nothing to see here.

  25. serpico 25

    Redbaiter can see the bigger picture at work.
    Flick that socialist media and put on something real that is positive for children.
    Are dreams still free in New Zealand? Dream police everywhere. Smack that naughty boy now Sue.

  26. Thomas Beagle 26

    Why use “Ear-flick father” in the headline? I’d say that they used that headline because that’s the detail that the case is associated with in the public mind.

    Although I think they could have done better with a headline along the lines of “Face-punch not an ‘ear-flick'” or similar.

  27. serpico 27

    Hardly a face punch. No medical evidence was presented at trial. Doh Thom!

  28. Westminster 28

    I cannot believe idiots are still trying to hold this guy up as some sort of folk hero for braving the “feminazis” and still indulging in a bit of the old fashioned smack to correct his wayward boys. For fuck sake, the kids were under 5 years old. And he punched on of them in the face. No need to second guess the evidence and witnesses. The Court did that for you and found him guilty of punching a child under 5 in the face. Jesus weeps. This guy richly deserves our opprobrium not just because he punched a child under five in the face but because he thought that was sufficiently OK that he was willing to be made into the poster boy of loving correction or whatever McCroskie and fellow kooks described it. I end by just restating that a Court of Law one that heard all the evidence and deliberated for hours on the subject found this man guilty of punching a child under five in the face. Wow. Serpico, I know you’re trolling. But seriously fuck off for a while and search your soul. Do you really want to be defending this scumbag?

  29. Chris G 29

    It is interesting to note that there has been only one righty on here defending the ‘Child Face Puncher’ and its some deranged fathers coalition guy.

    Gingercrush came on but just changed the topic.

    Neither of you adressed the fact that the media Continue to sensational it as an ‘ear-flicking dad’ rather than what he actually is.

    • gingercrush 29.1

      Because when the argument people are making is that by using such a headline and taking a sensational position on Section 59, that makes them somehow pro-National Party. I don’t get that. Its a stupid point and its the point I was making. And for all the bashing of the media in New Zealand. This blog couldn’t survive without that media.

      As for the smacking debate. If he punched the boy in the face that is assult. Just because I am on the right of politics doesn’t mean I defend violence.

  30. Ron 30

    …and you know what? An ear-flick? WTF is that all about, anyway? What is his son – a dog?
    Even animal trainers know that inflicting pain doesn’t work as a way of getting the desired response. He should be convicted for being a dork.

  31. Lex 31

    Smacking/spanking/bashing/hitting/lashing out/beating (same thing, different names) is simply the quickest, easiest, laziest, most mindless and cowardly way to assert power and control over someone (usually physically weaker than the beater), when not given your own way. The small, dishonourable, churlish, self-centred, weak and thoughtless bully’s answer to everything.

    Violence studies 101.

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