The defence counsel argued that he was using 'old fashioned discipline' to correct bad behaviour from a 'challenging' child. Previously, this defence might have worked. Thankfully this is no longer the case.
Obviously, it is not the defence lawyers job to ponder questions such as, if Mr Lagataua endured corporal punishment himself as a child, what can we surmise about its effectiveness by looking at what he has become? Or what has made the 'challenging' child so difficult, if not the parenting and discipline of Mr Lagataua?
This is a tragedy for the whole family. A woman and children have endured years of physical intimidation and violence. A man has lost his children and his partner because he was raised to think that violence was an acceptable means of dealing with problems. The self satisfied behind the Family Party (2), Family First (3), Family Integrity (4) and the other pressure groups that are trying to allow people like Mr Lagataua continue to use subjective 'reasonable force' when they beat their children.
1 - "Dad jailed for 'old fashioned discipline' on child," unattributed article from The Timaru Herald, reproduced on stuff.co.nz, 3rd of February, 2009. (http://www.stuff.co.nz/4836081a11.html)
2 - Website of The Family Party, outlining their intention to "Fix the smacking law" by reinstating Section 59 of the Crimes Act, as of 3rd of February, 2009. (http://www.familyparty.org.nz/policy/the-family-policy)
3 - Website of Family First, outlining the groups desire to decriminalise "parents who use light smacking for correction of children," as of 3rd of February, 2009. (http://www.familyfirst.org.nz/index.cfm/Policy_Watch_08)
4 - Website of Family Integrity, a group which states the "organisation’s focus at present is the bill to repeal Section 59, Sue Bradford’s Crimes Amendment Bill," which is either indicative of a lapse in interest or a truly unswerving mania. (http://familyintegrity.org.nz/about-us/)