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SCOOP: Bradford Fails to Answer Questions on Bill

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on April 28, 2007

Source: SCOOP

Bradford Fails to Answer Questions on Bill

27 April 2007

Bradford Fails to Answer Questions on anti-smacking bill

The Society is very concerned that Ms Bradford appears unable or unwilling to answer key questions put to her regarding her unpopular private members bill that is opposed by over 80% of New Zealanders.

In an Open Letter to her dated 23 March (copied below) the Society sought urgent clarification on four matters relating to her contradictory public pronouncements on her bill that seeks to remove the defence of “reasonable force” for “correction” (that can be used currently by a parent against a charge of assault on a child), from Section 59 of the Crimes Act (1961). The explanation given by the Green Party for her lack of response is that she is “very busy”. Green Party worker, Ms Fran Tyler, has undertaken to give her the hurry up.

Tens of thousands of concerned parents who may face charges of criminal assault for lightly smacking their children for the purposes of corrective discipline, should Bradford¡¯s flawed anti-family bill pass into law, await answers to the important questions the Society has raised. Bradford says the aim of her bill is to make it illegal for any parent or person in the place of parent to use any “force” for the purpose of “correction”. However, the bill does not specifically define what constitutes “force”.

On the other hand, she has agreed to retain the defence of “reasonable force”, but only for parents who she claims might face a charge of criminal assault for removing a child from harm¡¯s way etc. But she is adamant that this defence cannot be used if the action is undertaken with the intent or purpose of “correction”: in whole or in “part”. In effect she has made an ass of the law. Current law provides a clear justification for the use of “reasonable force” by parents for correction. Bradford is seeking to make that which is perfectly legal, illegal, and thereby she undermines the authority of good and loving parents.

OPEN LETTER TO MS SUE BRADFORD MP

RE: Sue Bradford’s Private Members Bill dealing with Repeal of s. 59 that is opposed by 80% – 90% of New Zealanders polled.

23 March 2007

Dear Ms Fran Tyler

Please thank Ms Bradford for the answers she has supplied to the Society’s questions (1-4) re her bill.

[See: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0703/S00301.htm%5D. However, having studied her answers, we are unable to comprehend how her position can be logically coherent within a legal framework. All our members feel the same way.

Please present to her a few short follow-up questions seeking urgent clarification. We would appreciate her prompt assistance.

Re Queston 1.

If as Ms Bradford stated on TV One’s Agenda programme: “It’s actually illegal now to smack your child” – why has she in responsed to Q 1 by stating: “Some smacking is therefore illegal under the current law.” [Emphasis added]. We believe that it follows logically from the latter statement that some smacking is LEGAL; therefore the Agenda programme comment is inconsistent and misleading to say the least.

Questions: seeking clarification:

1.. How does Ms Bradford reconcile the apparent inconsistency between her two statements quoted and b.. What forms of smacking does she consider legal under the current Crimes Act? c.. Is it the smacking that is legal under current law or that which is illegal under current law that her bill intends to make illegal, or is it both forms? d.. Does Ms Bradford consider that it is unlawful under current law for a parent or person in the place of a parent to use “reasonable force” in the context of domestic discipline, for the purpose of correcting a child who exhibits extreme defiance and/or disobedience despite a number of clearly defined warnings to desist from wrong behaviour (see section 59 of Crimes Act)? e.. Is it the intention in her bill to prevent parents from correcting their children by using ANY actions that involve “reasonable force” in the circumstances? (vi) If so why, and why particularly has she sought to make illegal the use of ALL forms of force for correction carried out by the parent to achieve compliance from the disobediant/defiant child? Re. Questions 2-3

(vi) In the light of Ms Bradford’s negative answers concerning the lawful use of “reasonable force” in self-defence (s. 48) and by ship’s captains (s. 60), which we accept as correct; why did she state on Agenda “It’s actually illegal now to smack your child” when she knew full well that this is untruthful (s. s. 59) and has now done a U-turn on by stating: “Some smacking is therefore illegal under the current law.” (see above)? [Note the “reasonable force” defence provisions in s. 59, 60 and 48 serve the same purposes in protected those who use the force and those subject to the force].

Re Queston 4

(vi) Ms Bradford agreed to amendments to her bill which she now admits she did not feel were necessary, but agreed to in order to alleviate some doubts by some submitters – as she puts it “assertions by some submitters on the Bill that it [use of reasonable force for removing kids from harms waty etc.] may not be so justified”. In the light of these concessions to submitters, why is she opposed to a clarification of s. 59 (the Borrows amendment) so that judges can point jury members to a clearer definition of “reasonable force” as it applies to actions taken by parents in corrective discipline on children?

Yours sincerely

David Lane

Secretary

Society for Promotion of Community Standards Inc.

P.O. Box 13-683 Johnsonville

http://www.spcs.org.nz  

ENDS


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