Tuesday, May 08, 2007

So what is an inconsequential crime?

Our American friends may have noticed the intense debate of New Zealanders regarding the "Anti-Smacking" Bill currently before parliament.

In simple terms, an intended amendment to the bill would have made it illegal for any parent to smack their child/children. A huge majority of New Zealander's, were outraged by this bill; ( see Lindsay step up to the plate.)

Such was the outrage, our lying/cheating government tried to fast track this bill through parliament, only to be cut off at the knee's by one of their member's who they had sacked a few weeks prior (I digress).

To cut to the chase, the amendment was eventually passed, aided and abetted by the leader of the opposition John Key. This was through an absolutely gutless capitulation of principles. He, who was more concerned with political polish, than upholding democratic principle.

The proposed bill removes a defence of reasonable force and thus effectively making criminals out of parents who smacked their children. The amendment gives police the discretion not to prosecute complaints against a parent, where the offence was considered "so inconsequential" there was no public interest in it going ahead.

One does not need to be in the legal profession to see that the amendment is a "bad law" I mean to say, why bother electing a government if it can not define its own laws and leaves it up to the police to decide.

I thought that making decisions is one of the key tasks that we pay them to do (apart from taking hugely expensive taxi rides whilst mere mortals wait in cold airport gyms).

Besides, where on the ballot paper does it say which cop you are voting for? The politicians realise that the police are better at making decisions than they are and both the Labour Party and National Party have acknowledged this by ceding the right of judgement to the police in this amendment.

As for the opposition leader John Key (Another Neville)...

His words were that the amendment was "to give comfort to parents, that they would not be prosecuted for lightly smacking their kids and to give police clear guidance they should not pursue "inconsequential" matters

Now if this hasn't been enough to make you vomit as yet, better go fetch a bucket before reading any further.

In today's news

A worker for Subway was sacked for sharing her cup of coke with a friend. Not only was she fired, the police have charged her for stealing a cup of coke to the value of $4.00. Furthermore, according to this news report, she spent 2 hours in a police cell!

How can this prosecution possibly be in the public interest? I would hate to hazard a guess of the cost involved in this prosecution.

Furthermore, if $4 worth of coke is not INCONSEQUENTIAL enough to be ignored, then the amendment is truly shown for what it is worth.

Anyone who was appeased with Key's capitulation; read this and weep!


Anonymous said...

What is the definition of the people responsible for this blog of:

a) Reasonable force
b) An inconsequential offence

It is all very well to hit the panic button about the police definitions, but rational alternative definitions by ordinary people should be cited here as a "frame of reference". Don't just start quoting someone else's "expert" or "authoritative" opinions: make an original statement of your own. If you can come up with reasonable definitions of your own, it will go a long way towards providing rational rather than purely emotive material in support of the stated aims of this group. What implements of punishment are acceptable & what are not (in your own opinions)?

Graham Wolf

Andy Moore said...

Graham, this is where the beauty of our existing law comes in.

"Every person in the place of the 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."
see it here

Hitting a child around the head or striking out in anger at the child is never acceptable. Smacks should be applied to the bottom or the hand. The parent must be careful not to over-do it, and of course would not use a horse-whip or a plank of wood.

Sue Bradford and Helen Clark, eagerly backed up by the media have claimed that parents have beaten their children with a plank of wood and whipped them with a horse-whip. This is absolute rubbish.

They have also said such things as "We don't want to see parents beating their kids to pulp".

What the heck, that's already illegal in New Zealand's law. A loving parent will never beat their child into pulp.

A smack that is deemed inconsequential cannot really be said to have done it's job. A smack has got to hurt.