For those overseas readers, here in New Zealand, we have a Law that says you cannot hit your children. You can pretty much do anything else but hit, you must not!
Look, don't get me wrong, I think assaulting a child - in fact, assaulting anyone - is deplorable but this case (the first of its kind in New Zealand) might be pushing that envelope just a little too damn wide in my view.
Here is a father, out with his son on an otherwise uneventful day. The son spots a ramp and thinks "Cool, I shall have a crack at that, just me, the bike, and death-defying gravity." Now, his father, somewhat older and perhaps wiser than his son, does a quick calculation in his head and decides best not let son purposely kill himself. A decision I think most parents would also assume. I am gathering, at this stage, that none of that "logical talking" stuff worked on the determined young offspring cause he went off and did it anyhow. Upshot was, father has a near fatal heart attack and "clips" his son around the ear hole.
Now someone in their wisdom saw this and reported this to the Police. The father, James Mason, was convicted of assault and sentenced to nine months supervision and an "order to undertake programmes as directed by the Probation Service." To be fair, there was another allegation that he "punched his son in the face" and if that were true, then, yeah, can kind of see where the jury is going on this one. In any event, Mason took his case to the Supreme Court and the conviction was overturned.
I am sure (surely) that the evidence the Police had must have been substantial for the case to even see the inside of a Court. Well, I'd like to think so, put it that way. The fact that the conviction was overturned, like most Court cases, doesn't really tell us about guilt really - some cases are thrown out on technicalities that would make your hair curl. Doesn't mean the accused is innocent, just means the systems is faulty.
Whatever the case may be - and I am sure we will never really know - it does beg the question of how extreme our Country seems to be getting where we get all this publicity cause a father "clipped" his son and there are kids out there, right now, this very minute, being brutally abused and a Legal system that seems reluctant to punish criminals. With the case mentioned above, Mason was sentenced to supervision. It might seem lenient until you hear of cases of child sexual abuse convictions been given the same sentencing. There seems to be an extreme upwards focus on public displays of physical abuse and a downward slight on anything sexual as if it's just too dirty to look at.