Couple given conditional discharge for spanking teen daughter
Christina Commisso, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, May 11, 2016 9:11AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 11, 2016 12:07PM EDT
A British Columbia mother and father who were convicted of assault after spanking their 14-year-old daughter with a plastic hockey stick and skipping rope have been given a conditional discharge.
The couple from Salmon Arm, B.C. was convicted earlier this year after admitting to striking their daughter after learning the teen had sent nude photos of herself to a young man online.
When the girl went to school with lacerations and bruises, her friends told school administrators, who called RCMP.
The couple was given a conditional discharge on Tuesday, meaning they will not face jail time. If they follow the court's orders and serve the 12-month probation handed to them by a judge, they will not have criminal records.
The parents are also prohibited from doling out corporal punishment to any minors in their care, and they will be required to provide a DNA sample.
During their trial, the girl's father had testified he had "no clue" he was breaking the law when he spanked his daughter.
The judge noted that the family's beliefs about discipline came from the Bible, which advises to strike with a rod, not with hands, as hands are used as instruments of love.
However, the judge called the punishment degrading and punitive.
Parents 'fell out of line' in spanking case: family lawyer
Family and children's right's lawyer John Schuman, who was not involved in the B.C. case, said the Canadian Criminal Code offers parents a defence when they use reasonable force to correct a child's behaviour.
“(The Criminal Code) has a bit of an exception for corporal punishment,” Schuman told CTV's Canada AM on Wednesday. “It doesn't necessarily have to be a spank, it could be a slap or a hit. But all that is protected under the Criminal Code with limitations.”
Schuman said leaving marks and bruises on a child goes beyond what would be considered a reasonable amount of correction
"Reasonable force is not something that causes harm, and you should not be using implements like that couple did,” he added. “So that's where they obviously fell out of line.”
Schuman added that the Criminal Code does not permit hitting a child under two years old or a teenager over 14 years old.
"The Supreme Court found it would only engender anti-social or violent behaviour if you hit a teenager," he said.
Schuman said the judge's ruling was consistent with Canadian laws.
"The judge said this was more punitive than corrective," he said. "It wasn't to teach the child a lesson as much as it was to punish."
With files from The Canadian Press