Father cleared of assault in forcing teen daughter to go home

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martin dufresne


you've accepted that you are now a slanderer and verbal abuser

No, I have not, nor will I respond in kind.

[ 09 April 2008: Message edited by: martin dufresne ]


Martin, your argument is like those who claim that children services are "kidnappers", because they can remove children -sometimes by force- from their home. Confining people or removing them from a place by force is not always "kidnapping". It is kidnapping when the person who does it is not authorized by law.

The same way, use of force is not always assault. This is a gray area. It is assault (as in criminal terms) if it is not authorized by law. How much force parents can apply in dealing with their children has been debated for a long time. However you cannot completely eliminate force as an option because you cannot demand responsibility if you do not give authority.

In other words, as long as parents can be held responsible for what their kids do, they must have necessary tools (including limited force) to apply that authority. If you don't want to give the parents that authority, you should never hold parents responsible for whatever their kids do.

What would I do if I was in that situation? I don't know. Emotionally I might have done what he did. However I note that his action failed: the girl complained to police, left house and spent two weeks with her gang. So perhaps his solution was not a good one after all. As a parent I think force should be the last possible option.



Originally posted by martin dufresne:
[b]No, I have not, nor will I respond in kind.[/b]

You already did before. Or, rather, farnival's response is the response in kind to your earlier namecalling.

martin dufresne

I am sure glad that such issues are not decided in anonymous forums... I agree with your last point. Was the father authorized by law to do what he did. Apparently not - he was first convited on that basis. Then this was overturned on appeal. So it was, as you say, a gray area. When CAS agents apprehend a child, things are much clearer and a judge has ruled on the matter, so it's not someone "losing his cool" and doing whatever he deems necessary to take (temporarirly) the upper hand.



Apparently not - he was first convited on that basis. Then this was overturned on appeal.

Actually legally, apparently yes. Since mistakes do happen in a trial so its the appeal courts that have the final say. Thus, yes he did. And now does



Originally posted by martin dufresne:
[b]I am sure glad that such issues are not decided in anonymous forums... I agree with your last point. Was the father authorized by law to do what he did. Apparently not - he was first convited on that basis. Then this was overturned on appeal. [/b]

Martin, I’m not sure if you’re being deliberately obtuse or you really don’t get it, but appellate level courts trump lower courts. In this case the hierarchy goes: Ontario Court of Justice --> Ontario Superior Court of Justice. If it gets appealed further it will go to the Court of Appeal for Ontario.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice said the other court was WRONG in its interpretation of the Supreme Court of Canada’s interpretation of s.43 of the Criminal Code (the spanking provision aka. the provision that allows parents to exercise reasonable force in disciplining their children). The issue was what was reasonable. Perhaps your confusion and misinterpretation stems from the meaning of the word assault. Technically, an assault does not need to cause harm in order for it to be an offence. (there’s a separate section for assault causing bodily harm). If someone’s toddler runs into the road and his parent yanks him back to the sidewalk, that’s an assault (but one that is defensible by virtue of s.43)

In this case, there was no evidence that the daughter was hurt. You may believe otherwise, but unless you can point to where you get your facts from, I’m chalking it up to your own biased point of view.

From the decision:


[28] The trial judge was correct that the summary of Canadian Foundations in Martin’s Criminal Code includes the comment by the Supreme Court of Canada that s. 43 does not apply to teenagers, but a review of the case shows those comments were made in the context of a review of corporal punishment. The majority of the court concluded that corporal punishment of teenagers, particularly with the use of objects or blows or slaps to the head, is prohibited because it does not have corrective value. [b]It did not hold, as the trial judge seems to have concluded, that any non-consensual application of force by a parent against a teenager is precluded in all circumstances. To exclude all force against teenagers takes the comments of the court out of context. [/b] The statute does not include an age restriction. Canadian Foundations did not prohibit the application of s. 43 in circumstances of restraint or control of an unruly teen. I find that the trial judge erred in concluding that s. 43 of the Criminal Code was not an available defence for consideration in the circumstances. He placed too narrow an interpretation on the meaning of correction and the child’s ability to benefit from it. The purpose of the correction was to return her to a safe environment. [b]In these extreme circumstances, the Appellant’s use of force as corrective restraint was reasonable.[/b] I find the father was justified in his use of force to correct his teenage daughter, M.

Polly B Polly B's picture


Originally posted by martin dufresne:
[b]As for my comment about advocacy for violence, the continuing discussion establishes it was relevant.
I understand that the fact of this man's assault on his daughter was established in court and he was convicted; the final, appellate judgment simply hinged on whether this assault was justified. This is also what our discussion is about. Many here say yes. [/b]

You have your head up your ass. Not one poster here has advocated violence, or maintained that any violence is justified.


I don't understand why people think we can actually settle a real-life case here, based on what we read in a newspaper...!

We can discuss the issue. We can get het up over hypotheticals. But to argue over who's portraying the reality of one particular case better is jejune.


Polly B Polly B's picture

True that. But I think the argument moved beyond the hypotheticals and the realitys as soon as Martin decided that anyone who didn't agree with his view was a child beater and an advocate for violence.

Now that we can argue about.