An excellent compromise

Chester Borrows has put forward an amendment to Section 59, which I think will be acceptable to all but the zealots.

He correctly notes that almost evryone wants the same outcomes:

* To send a message that child abuse is wrong
* To stop parents who moderately and seriously assault their children from hiding behind Section 59
* To not criminalise good parents who occasionally smack their children

Borrows also describes the differing approaches as being about whether “protection afforded to parents and children should be enshrined in legislation or left to government agencies to make social policy by way of guidelines.”

He rightfully says laws should be made by Parliament, not by unelected officials, so proposes two amendments to Section 59. They are:

1) Requiring a judge to decide if Section 59 can be applied in the circumstances of the case, and then the jury would decide if the force used was reasonable, providing a filter so juries cannot misapply Section 59 out of sympathy

2) Defining reasonable force as no more than ‘transitory and trifling discomfort’, which drastically lowers the bar on the level of force that can be justified by Section 59

I really like the “transitory and trifling” definition as it is a very significant change to what is allowed. If MPs vote for a repeal instead of this amendment that means they want parents to be prosecuted for applying “transitory and trifling” discipline.

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