Fined for wooden spoon smack

Weekend Courier - - Front Page - Gabrielle Jef­fery

A MAN who used a wooden spoon to dis­ci­pline his step­son, leav­ing se­vere bruis­ing, has been fined $1500.

Ap­pear­ing at Rock­ing­ham Mag­is­trates Court on April 27, the man pleaded guilty to com­mon as­sault.

The court heard how the sixyear-old child had been “play­ing up” dur­ing the day.

Later that day, the child was told nu­mer­ous times to put on his py­ja­mas, eat his tea and go to bed, which he re­fused to do.

The child’s mother asked the man, the child’s step­fa­ther, to help her dis­ci­pline the child.

He used a wooden spoon to smack the child on his up­per left leg.

Welts from the spoon left a se­vere bruise four inches long on the child’s leg.

Pho­to­graphs of the bruis­ing were handed to the Mag­is­trate.

Un­able to sit down the next day at school, he told his teacher and child pro­tec­tion of­fi­cers, re­sult­ing in the man be­ing ar­rested.

The man’s lawyer said the facts were ac­cepted and said that re­gard­less of some be­havioural is­sues with the child, they both usu­ally had a good re­la­tion­ship.

The lawyer said that the man did ad­mit and ac­cept that he went too far and was quite sur­prised to see the child’s leg bruise so badly.

The po­lice pros­e­cu­tor con­ceded dis­ci­pline stan­dards had changed.

“It was a rea­son­able chas­tise­ment grow­ing up; there cer­tainly has been a change in com­mu­nity stan­dards,” he said. “But in this case, there was se­vere bruis­ing.

“I was par­tial to the wooden spoon my­self although I don’t re­mem­ber be­ing bruised.

“It was a con­sid­er­able bruise that would have caused con­sid­er­able dis­com­fort.”

Mag­is­trate Vivien Ed­wards ac­cepted that the man had chas­tised the child on in­struc­tion from the child’s mother.

“The child was not com­ply­ing with di­rec­tions; the child’s mother asked for you to help,” she said.

“It was a strike from a 34cm wooden spoon to the up­per left thigh. The pros­e­cu­tor rightly said you had struck the child with some force to cause that level of bruis­ing. Com­mu­nity stan­dards have changed con­sid­er­ably over the last 20 years, but it is not ac­cept­able to have that level of bruis­ing.”

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