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Domestic CP - June 2005

Corpun file 16076

Aftenposten (Oslo) English Web, 24 June 2005

Appeals court rules against spanking

A 36-year-old man cleared of violence charges for spanking his children has seen the decision reversed by Gulating court of appeals, newspaper Stavanger Aftenblad reports.

The original acquittal in Stavanger municipal court attracted attention since violently disciplining children is illegal in Norway. Both the defense and the prosecution can appeal a verdict.

A majority of the original jury found for the defendant who had spanked his then eight and nine year-old stepson four times in the winter of 2002-2003 as punishment for bothering and hitting fellow students at school.

The 36-year-old claimed that he did not know that it was illegal to spank children. The limits of what parents can resort to in child-rearing are unclear but the prosecution appealed the verdict on the grounds of the Children's Act of 1987, which prohibits violence against children.

The original acquittal based its ruling on the father's record as a caring parent with the best intentions.

"Besides, he has lived quite a while in the USA where it is not unusual to have a certain degree of physical punishment of children," defense counsel Odd Rune Torstrup said.

The ruling can now be appealed to the Supreme Court within the next 14 days.

Aftenposten English Web Desk
Jonathan Tisdall/NRK

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