The quick summary of the Investigate Article on the Latta Review

Having read the actual Investigate article twice, the cases seem to boil down to the following:

  1. Family first announce that a parent has been prosecuted for smacking.
  2. Latta looks up the case in CYFS files and discovers other accusations. Doesn’t check the court documents, as he considers these to be irrelevant. Declares he has more information than Family first, and that by ommitting the information the family have lied to Family First and by extension, the public.
  3. Ian checks the court records and finds that the “extra” information in fact are false allegations that did not hold up in court. Once these allegations are removed, the case is in fact a prosecution for smacking.

There’s more to it of course, and on reading the article I would withdraw the comment that Latta and his fellow reviewers lied maliciously. It’s instead clear that this a case best filed under “incompetence”.

By taking only the CYFS files and ignoring the end result in the courts, Latta clearly believed in his own mind that there was more to these cases than was in the pubic (wow, I have access to all these cool files – now, who killed JFK?). In fact, there wasn’t. But by believing that and ignoring results to the contrary, he was able to present the cases as “abuse” (i.e. unreasonable force) which would have been prosecuted under the old law.

However, under the old law these cases would never have gone to court, since once the false allegations were removed the remaining actions were legal. In fact even under the current law one of the cases he records as “convicted” wasn’t, and the rest were let off without penalty.

So the moral of the story: you can smack a child lightly, but only if the person making the complaint* doesn’t embellish the story to get the attention of the authorities.

*Usually a child that’s just had their ego taken down a peg or two by the proper application of parental discipline…

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