Gatton Magistrates Court, generic court.
Gatton Magistrates Court, generic court.

Gatton man assaults teenage son, says it’s 'his right'

A GATTON dad who repeatedly punched his 13-year-old son in the stomach has told the court he did what he had to do to "defuse the situation".

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said he was "entitled" to discipline his son after the boy raised a potato peeler in self-defence, during an argument at the family home.

Pleading not guilty in the Gatton Magistrates Court on Tuesday, the man said "I am able to pull a punch" when referring to his son.

The man had been charged following an investigation by the Laidley Child Protection Unit after punching his son twice in the stomach and slapping him across the face in 2019.

The father defended his actions, telling Magistrate Graham Lee that he was "entitled" to discipline his son, when an argument became heated.

The court was shown more than an hours' worth of body cam footage from police, including interviews with the man and his son following the assault.

Police were called to the defendant's Gatton home on November 27, 2019, following reports of a disturbance.

Body cam footage played to the court showed the man sitting at his kitchen table, smoking, where he told police he slapped his son across the face.

He told Senior Constable Matthew Reichstein that he and his wife had an argument, which his son became involved in.

The man said he would not tolerate his son coming at him with a potato peeler and said, "I gave him a little slap to make him wake up to himself".

The footage showed the defendant's wife was visibly distressed following the altercation and she claimed the argument started after she told her husband he did nothing to contribute to the running of the family.

Detective Senior Constable Sophia Neal, from the Laidley Child Protection Unit, questioned and charged the man on January 29, 2020.

Senior Constable Neal's body cam footage showed a highly-strung man, verbally abusing police and repeatedly telling them to "f**k off out of his house".

When asked by police if he had punched his son in the stomach, the defendant replied, "I did what I had to do to diffuse the situation".

Senior Constable Neal interviewed the 13-year-old victim at his school in January, where he said his father had punched him twice in the stomach with great force.

Body cam footage showed Senior Constable Neal asking the victim on a scale of one to 10 what the level of pain he'd suffered as a result of the attack, to which the child said it was a pain level of eight.

The victim, now aged 14, appeared in the Gatton Court via video link on Tuesday, November 10, where he recounted the event.

The victim was cross-examined by his father in court, but Magistrate Graham Lee ruled the questions out-of-order and stated they had no relevance to the case.

Police prosecutor Senior Sergeant Al Windsor told the court the case relied upon the testimony of the victim.

Senior sergeant Windsor said any threat the son posed was not unlawful but justified and was as a result of him trying to protect his mother from arguing with his father.

Senior sergeant Windsor said the defendant in the body cam footage claimed the victim was "fighting for her".

He said the force used by the defendant, being a blow to the stomach, was "excessive in relation to any threat posed by victim towards him".

Mr Lee said he did not accept that a punch to the stomach was reasonable in the circumstances.

The defendant's previous history was also referred to the court including previous cases of assault in addition to multiple drug offences that occurred over a long period of time.

Magistrate Lee said it was "a sad case" where the defendant had been charged with assaulting his 13-year-old son.

The defendant scoffed out loud as senior sergeant Windsor recommended to Mr Lee a period of imprisonment be sentenced for the offence.

It was also heard the offence occurred towards the end of a previous period of probation.

Mr Lee found the man guilty of common assault and sentenced him to six months imprisonment, wholly suspended for 15 months.

The conviction was recorded.


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