Dad admits beating daughters, avoids jail

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A 45-year-old man who admitted to beating his daughters avoided jail time.
A 45-year-old man who admitted to beating his daughters avoided jail time.

A 45-year-old man who admitted and was convicted on two representative counts of assault with a blunt instrument, after beating his daughters with a length of peach tree branch.

He was ordered to undertake an anger management course when he appeared before Judge Jim Large in the Kaitaia District Court last week.

He was also placed under supervision for 12 months and sentenced to 100 hours of community work.

Judge Large told the defendant that his behaviour had been totally unacceptable, and clearly illegal.

"You can't even smack [children], even if you're driven to frustration to the nth degree," he said.

The court heard that earlier this year, when the children were aged 15 and 13, the defendant arrived home from fishing to find that they had not completed a job he had asked them to do, and were not at home.

They returned at 8pm. The defendant slapped the younger girl's face with an open hand, then using the peach tree sapling to strike her once on one hand.

He then struck the older girl on both hands, and tried to strike her feet but connected with other parts of her body.

He then told the girls to clean and smoke the fish he had caught, which took them until 3am.

The older girl's injuries were noticed by staff at her school the next day, and CYF and the police were notified. Her injuries were described as bruising/lineal marks on her right bicep, the crook of her left elbow and left shin, bruising to the tip of one finger and the toes on her right foot.

The girl was treated by a local doctor.

The defendant admitted striking the girls with the stick when he was interviewed by police, saying he had been angry with them.

He had cut the peach tree stick some two years earlier to discipline them, to correct bad behaviour that had "crept in".

He admitted using the stick on two earlier occasions, striking both girls on the bottom through their clothing.

Counsel Tony Shepherd told Judge Large that his client had tried other disciplinary methods, including physical activities and time out. The girls were now living in Australia, but still had contact with their father.

"He is clearly lacking the skills needed to be a good parent." Mr Shepherd said. The defendant had been "up front" about his offending and was also remorseful.

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