Solicitor: Danielle Warren
Court: Southport Magistrates Court
Our client was charged with assaulting his 11 year old son after his son had back-chatted and sworn at him. The assault included eight hits to the back of the child’s leg with a tent pole over two incidents an hour apart. This caused bruising and thin red welts to the child’s legs.
Queensland law states that parents (or a person in the place of a parent, including school teachers) can use, by way of correction, discipline, management or control, towards a child such force as is reasonable under the circumstances. Our client pleaded guilty to the two charges on the basis that the force he used in the circumstances was unreasonable. For more information about the defence of domestic discipline, read our article.
For a person charged with assaulting a child (if the offence involves violence) imprisonment is not a last resort for the sentencing court. This applies even for people without any criminal history, as was the case for our client.
These types of charges can also have an effect on other proceedings including family court matters, child protection investigations or court proceedings, and domestic violence applications. It is important for people charged with an offence against their child to get detailed advice to ensure that decisions made in one proceeding do not impact another.
To prepare for our client’s sentence, we encouraged him to obtain character references and to attend an anger management course. He also enrolled in the Men’s Behavioural Change Program run by Centacare.
At the sentence, we outlined our client’s mitigating circumstances to the court and submitted that his offending was out of character. We urged the court to place our client on a good behaviour bond, which was accepted by the Magistrate. This penalty option automatically meant that no conviction would be recorded on his criminal history.
This is a summary of an actual case. Details have been omitted to protect the privacy of our client. We select cases which are informative and no guarantee is provided that similar results are achievable in all cases. Every case is different and you should obtain legal advice specific to your matter and circumstances.