Father guilty of smacking goes free

A FATHER found guilty of assault after he smacked his eight-year- old daughter in public walked free yesterday when a court decided he had suffered enough. Campaigners said the decision was a victory for common sense.

The man, a teacher, was told that with his career now in the balance there was little to be gained from punishing him further. He was admonished and discharged - a punishment under Scots law similar to a conditional discharge.

As he left Hamilton Sheriff Court, the 48-year-old was embraced by one of his other two children. Admitting that he had acted wrongly, he said: "I don't think I am a violent person. I said at the time it was wrong. I smacked her so hard. But even when she is tickled she bruises. But I am not trying to minimise what I did and it is a thing I would never do again.

"I know that when I tuck my children into bed at night they know their daddy is not a criminal."

The court had been told that the incident took place on Christmas Eve last year at Motherwell Health Centre, where the man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his child, put his daughter across his knee, pulled down her underwear and smacked her bare bottom.

Staff at the centre called the social services. When the girl was examined by a doctor she was found to be bruised.

The father told police who arrested him that he had been trying to make his daughter have a tooth removed. At the court hearing the girl said she had not been sore after the smack.

Because of his arrest, the man was placed on library duty at his school and banned from his family home over Christmas.

Sheriff Dan Russell had previously ruled that the man's daughter had been a victim of "unnecessary suffering". But yesterday he said he had decided that the father had already been punished enough.

"What has occurred already should be sufficient to ensure no recurrence of such behaviour. I therefore admonish you," he said. "As a result of your actions you have already suffered substantially - questioned by the police, charged and convicted of this offence with substantial loss to your previous clear record. You have also suffered temporary exclusion from your home and your family. Clearly you have the worry and uncertainty of what effect this conviction may have on your future professional life."

Refusing a defence request to order an absolute discharge, Sheriff Russell also decided that the man's three children should be referred to the Reporter to the Children's Panel. The panel will decide whether the children should be placed under a supervision order.

As the man left the court accompanied by his family, his wife said she was relieved at the outcome. "I just wish they could have done this at the beginning without putting our daughter through the trauma. She was so upset from the whole thing," she said.

Cornelia Oddie, deputy director of Family and Youth Concern, a think- tank on family issues, said: "No one condones smacking children but to criminalise a parent for disciplining his child is to involve the state in family affairs in a completely out-of-order way. He is just an ordinary father who has smacked his child. He has probably never done it before and will probably never do it again."

Education officials have still to decide the man's future. The General Teaching Council, the professional teaching body in Scotland, said a report had been received from the Scottish Criminal Records Office.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
people
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Developer - Sheffield - £35,000 ~ £40,000 DOE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

Employment Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen