Over at Mac Doctor’s, there’s a bit of discussion about Section 59.
I focus on part of a reply I made there:
This has been caused by the law which made beating children (with love or otherwise) illegal.
No, it made reasonable force illegal. REASONABLE force.
It seems you can’t argue on this without lying.
To which “Judge Holden” replies:
You can argue semantics all you like guy, and shriek liar when you don’t like the truth. It is what it is, riding crops and all.
Now he is of course referring to the infamous riding crop case.
The boy was asked to assist his stepfather to get some firewood. He refused.Apparently he did not respond well to the man’s encouragement to help. Instead he picked up a baseball bat and swung it full force at his stepdad’s head screaming that he would give him permanent head injuries. Fortunately the man was able to block the blow and disarm the boy. If he had not seen the baseball bat coming, the consequences could have been dire, as the impact to his head could have seriously maimed or even killed the man because he has a closed head injury from an accident some years ago.
So his mother disciplined hom with a riding crop because she couldn’t find anything else. Not a horse whip. A horse whip conjures up visions of a long stock type whip, where a riding crop is a small item, about 18 inches long and is designed to give a short sharp sting with no seen physical effects.
The discipline was controlled, over with very quickly and was very effective, according to the mother. Afterwards the boy gave his mother a hug and apologised for swinging the baseball bat and threatening his stepfather.
The special education services (SES) worke at the boy’s school noticed a change in the boys behaviour at school and asked why there was such a positive change His mother told him about the disciplining. The SES worker told the boys mother that she was not allowed to discipline in this manner, that it was against the law even to smack – which of course is rubbish.
Readers interested can go read the whole story, should they wish.
But here’s the point:
- The boy was accused of little short of attempted murder
- The boy was punished with an instrument which is basically the same as the time-honored cane. (Actually I can testify from personal experience that the cane hurts more.)
- This worked, where nothing else had
From these facts, it’s not hard to see how the jury found the mother not guilty. It’s also not hard to see how easy it was to whip up such hysteria about the case.
But let’s put that aside, and assume that this mother did not, as Judge Holden tells us, use reasonable force (in the circumstances).
(If you read about this case, the police made no reply to the defense, so there is an argument to be made that this case fell through by a poor prosecution.)
Given that you have two options:
- The jury got it wrong.
- The jury got it right.
If the jury got it wrong, and the force was in fact unreasonable, then there is no need to change the law, and this case is not a demonstration of anything other than police incompetence.
If the jury got it right then we have a case of force that was “reasonable in the circumstances”, yet was also excessive. That is a contradiction in terms*.
It is also the case for the law change to section 59.
In order to “stop abuse” we have declared reasonable actions illegal.
And that nonsense ladies and gentlemen, is now our law.
*One might ask how the Perfect Parent Lobby coped with such a contradiction. Well, that’s simple: they spoke about “reasonable force” as something that allowed abuse. So people began to think about reasonable force not as force that is reasonable, but like those labels you see in the supermarket that say “Real Juce” – just a label, divorced from it’s meaning.
This is of course, how Judge Holden thinks. He can’t refute the words, so has to reference the case to “prove” the words meant something they never did and never will.