Fined for wooden spoon smack
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.”