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 Saint John Father Sent to Jail for Hitting Child with Spoon

A Saint John man was recently sentenced to 60 days in jail and one year of supervised probation after it was discovered he disciplined his daughter by taking a slotted spoon to her buttocks a number of times, leaving her bruised.

When giving his decision, Judge Palmer stated, “When you strike a child, you’re hitting that child physically, but also emotionally. Corporal Punishment for children is not to be tolerated.” (Read Telegraph-Journal article here.)

Is Spanking Children Against the Law?

The law assumes that spanking a child to ‘correct’ the child’s behaviour is not against the law as long as the force used is reasonable. The Supreme Court interpreted reasonable force as “minor corrective force” which is short-lived and not harmful.

The Court found that the following is not reasonable:
• Using objects to discipline a child, such as belts, rulers, etc.
• Hitting a child under two years of age, or corporal punishment of teenagers.
• Slaps or blows to the head.
• Degrading or inhumane treatment.
• Corporal punishment which causes injury – causing harm is child abuse.

To learn more about the law on corporal punishment, check out our pamphlet: “Spanking and Disciplining Children: What You Should Know About Section 43 of the Criminal Code.”