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A jury has returned its verdict in the case of a Christchurch man in what has been viewed as a test of the controversial 'anti-smacking' law.

50-year-old Jimmy Mason was found guilty on one charge of assaulting his four-year-old son in December 2007. The charge related to allegations that he flicked his son's ear and punched him.

Mason was found not guilty on two other charges relating to accusations that he pushed over the bicycles of the four-year-old and another son, aged two, while they were still on them.

Judge Michael Crosbie told the jury he could understand the verdict they had delivered. He said it implied acceptance of the evidence from the people who witnessed the incident.

Mason has been remanded on bail and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 17.

The guilty verdict carries a maximum penalty of one year's imprisonment. However Judge Crosbie said he would consider the option of supervision in order to enable Mason to seek help for anger management.

Mason had denied all of the charges.

During the trial a witness said that she saw the accused punch his son and flick his ear.

Belinda Payne told the court she saw Mason at the Bridge of Remembrance where the two boys were riding their bikes.

She says he was yelling and telling off the boys. Ms Payne says Mason lifted up the bikes while the boys were still on them and forced them down onto the ground.

She says Mason then flicked the ear of the older boy and punched him in the face.

Mason's defence lawyer has told the court his client used reasonable force.

The Crown urged the jury not to make the case a test of the anti-smacking laws. They were told they should not use the case to send any sort of message to the Government about their views on physical punishment.

Mason's lawyer Liz Bulger wrapped up by saying her client was trying to discipline his boys after an earlier bike crash in a busy part of town.

She appealed to the jury members who are parents to remember what it is like to control toddlers.

- ADDITIONAL REPORTING: NEWSTALK ZB, NZPA