Much has been said about the poor reporting of the case of James Mason, who was yesterday found guilty of punching his four year-old in the face, but the thing I can’t figure out isn’t the focus on the ear-flick or whatever, but why anyone thinks it is a s59 test case. From having read the Stuff and Herald stories, I gather the following:
- To qualify as a s59 test case the verdict would need to hinge on a question of law in the new section of the Crimes Act. Mason would have had to admit striking his son and claim it was either inconsequential or not for the purpose of correction but for the purpose of preventing harm.
- Mason denied having struck his son, thus negating the possibility of any defence on either of those grounds.
- Mason’s denial was contradicted by two witnesses who testified to seeing him do so.
- The jury found that as a matter of fact Mason did strike his son, and duly found him guilty, there having been no argument that it was justified on the grounds of being inconsequential or for the purpose of preventing harm.
- Since Mason didn’t appeal to a matter of law, but to a matter of fact, the case couldn’t have been a test case no matter what the verdict was.
It may be because I haven’t read widely today, but the only other person I’ve seen make this argument is RedLogix at The Standard. Are we missing something here?
Aside from which, let me repeat the sentiment that those who want to burn political capital by defending a man who punches a four year-old in the face in public are more than welcome to do so.