Father charged for smacking son with belt found not guilty


A MACKAY man accused of assaulting his 10-year-old son with a weapon, in a single strike with a belt, was found not guilty by a jury.

The boy was left with marks on his legs in the incident, in July 2013, which occurred when he and his brother, 7, were disciplined for misbehaving in the bath.

The youngest boy had been slapped once on the bottom with the belt and the older boy had turned and the buckle of the belt had unfolded, striking him on the legs, the District Court in Mackay was told.

Judge Julie Dick said the two children would remember the court process a lot longer than the incident.

She instructed the jury prior to its deliberation that the Crown had to prove the force used had been unreasonable, and that the action was something other than discipline.

The Crown argued it had been unrestrained discipline of the child using unreasonable force.

Defence barrister Carl Heaton QC said it was not against the law to use physical discipline when parenting children and the jury had to decide whether the man's actions in using the belt once "fell so far short of community expectations" that it was criminal.

"Not every child responds to naughty corner discipline," Mr Heaton said.

Mr Heaton said the boys were behaving badly, showing a lack of respect for authority, and in a bathroom bad behaviour was dangerous.

"All the talking in the world (to kids) doesn't get the message across. Children need to understand that actions have consequences," he said.

Brendan Ryan, the solicitor from Mulcahy Ryan Lawyers assisting Mr Heaton, said the DPP charge should not have proceeded.

He said a Department of Child Safety investigation found the children were not at risk and there was no need for intervention.



A MACKAY father is accused of assaulting his son with an offensive weapon after giving him a single smack with a belt.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has pleaded not guilty in the District Court in Mackay to one count of assault occasioning bodily harm while armed.

The incident occurred in mid-2013.

The complainant child, then aged 10, and his brother, then seven, were having a bath and as a result of their behaviour the man used the belt on both boys.

The complainant child received bruising on his upper thigh, crown prosecutor Clare Hurley told the court.

Both brothers went to school the next day. The police were subsequently called and the complainant child attended hospital that night.

Ms Hurley said the man admitted to police to striking the child with a belt.

Ms Hurley said the main issue was whether or not the man's conduct "falls within lawful domestic discipline".

The crown case was that his behaviour "was not reasonable", Ms Hurley told the six-men, six-woman jury.

The trial under Judge Julie Dick begins today.

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Topics:  court crime mackay not guilty smacking

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