A South Otago man appeared before Judge Stephen O'Driscoll in
the Balclutha District Court on Tuesday for sentencing on a
charge of assaulting a child aged 9 or 10.
Police said on an unknown day between April 1 and 30 last
year, the man took his daughter aside to discipline her. He
struck her about the face and body with a tea towel, and
pushed her around the kitchen over a 10-minute to 15-minute
Judge O'Driscoll found the man guilty of assaulting a child
aged 9 or 10, and deferred his sentence for 12 months.
At a defended hearing in October, the victim's older sister
told the court her sister was acting silly and misbehaving
when the assault happened.
''He got a tea towel from the oven and whacked her with it.
He hit her in the head, the back and then her bottom.''
She said her father then pushed her sister against an oven,
yelling that she had the devil inside her.
She said her sister had marks on her face the next day that
were not there before her sister went into the kitchen with
In his reserved judgement, Judge O'Driscoll said the man held
on to the tea towel while he struck out at his daughter. He
said the man pushed her, causing her head to hit the oven and
he held her head down on the element on the range.
The judge said there was nothing to suggest the man had to
use force to protect either himself or his other children. He
also found the man was not acting to discipline his daughter,
and was attempting to show her that he was in control, acting
in a way and with such force that it was unreasonable in the
Counsel Tina Williams said the man was extremely remorseful
and had undertaken counselling at his own cost.
Ms Williams sought, and was granted, final name suppression
for the man citing the need to protect the victim and the
Judge O'Driscoll said the victim had forgiven her father.
''The use of force against children is not appropriate, and I
find you were not, at that particular stage, in the narrow
confines that the law now allows.
''I hope you know and understand you cannot use force like
you did on that day.''