Mum Child Assault Case
Not Guilty for Kinloch Lawyers Child Assault Case
On the 7th of November 2020, the Children(Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Act 2019 came into force which bans the smacking of children and makes it a criminal offence to use any sort of physical force when disciplining them. This gives children the same legal protection from assault as adults. Prior to this, provided any force used was considered ‘reasonable’ and in exercise of a parental right and to discipline the child, smacking was considered a justifiable assault. This meant that there was a defence available to anyone accused of this crime and was known as ‘reasonable chastisement’.
Section 51 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003
A non-exhaustive list of matters the Court should take into consideration
For the defence of reasonable chastisement to succeed, the Prosecutor must not have proved, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused acted with any cruel excess. What the Court must consider when deciding if any action taken by the accused was excessively cruel, can be found in s51 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003. The legislation provided a non-exhaustive list of matters the Court should take into consideration when assessing if the assault on the child was reasonable. Although this defence is no longer available, it still applies to incidents that occurred before the 7th of November 2020. Anyone prosecuted with this offence, if it occurred before this date, should be judged by the standard applicable at the time and not by today’s standard.
Mum Child Assault Case lasted 4 Days
Recently in Glasgow Sheriff Court, our Mr Banks represented a mum accused of assaulting her child. The trial took place over 4 days. There was a vast amount of evidence for the Court to consider, including investigative interviews by the police and social work, with the child in question. Our client on only a few occasions, over a course of several years, smacked her son across the bottom. She done this using an open palm, over his clothing, after he had been naughty and during a time when it was not unlawful to do so.
The Outcome of the Case
What was Agreed
Our client was found not guilty after Mr Banks successfully pled the defence of reasonable chastisement.
Given the introduction of the smacking ban, this defence will not be applicable to most new prosecutions. However, given the backlog of cases in the court system due to the pandemic, amongst other things, there is a real possibility that cases like this may still appear in courts.
If you have been charged with assaulting your child, regardless of when it happened, it is imperative that you seek specialist legal advice as quickly as possible.
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