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Domestic CP - May 1995

Corpun file 8867

The Evening Post, Wellington, 9 May 1995

Cane used with too much force

A jury has found that an Auckland man used unreasonable force in caning two boys he cared for.

The man, whose name, occupation and details leading to his identity are suppressed, was found guilty yesterday on two counts of assault by caning after a five-day trial in Auckland District Court.

The jury found that the man caned the two boys for correction but the force he used was unreasonable.

Judge Bruce Buckton remanded the man on bail until next month for sentencing.

In summing up, the judge told the jury the use of force for domestic discipline was justified if it was reasonable in the circumstances and if it was for the purpose of correction.

The laws relating to corporal punishment had not changed since 1908 but the standards of the community towards it might have, he said.

In his closing address, Crown prosecutor Ron Mansfield said the trial was different from other cases because the jury had to decide whether the community found certain kinds of conduct acceptable or reasonable.

The Crown said the man caned the two boys he acted as a parent for between 1989 and 1993 when they were aged between 11-14. The defendant had done a lot of good things for the community, the two boys and their families.

"But that does not give him the credit, the authority or make it right for the canings. He crossed the line between correction and abuse."

The man's lawyer, David Jones, told the court the man had done "everything humanly possible" to help the two boys, who had been in trouble at school, at home and on the street.

On each occasion, the boys were caned for good reason with their parents' authority, he said. - NZPA

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