SALMON ARM , B.C. – A British Columbia couple found guilty of assault with a weapon for spanking their teenaged daughter with a plastic hockey stick and a skipping rope will not face jail time.
The parents from Salmon Arm, B.C., were given a conditional discharge Tuesday, meaning they will not have criminal records if they follow the court’s orders and serve the 12-months probation handed to them by the judge.
Provincial court Judge Edmond de Walle convicted the couple earlier this year.
The trial heard that the mother and father spanked their 14-year-old daughter after they discovered she sent nude photographs of herself to a young man over the Internet.
She was struck by her father two or three times on the buttocks over her pyjama bottoms with the hockey stick.
“The accused father told his daughter as he struck her that he was doing this because he loved her and not out of hate. He wanted her to understand what she had done,” de Walle said in his decision issued Jan. 19.
When the mother came home, she picked up a skipping rope and used it to spank the daughter another two or three times.
The judge said the girl understood her parent’s beliefs about discipline came from their adherence to the bible, which advises that a “rod” be used to spank instead of hands, which are meant to be instruments of love.
The girl’s friends found out about the lacerations and bruises and went to school officials, who in turn notified the RCMP.
The father testified that he had “no clue” that corporal punishment is illegal and that he was breaking the law when he spanked his daughter.
Any reasonable parent would be concerned about their child sending nude photos, de Walle said in his decision, but he condemned how the parents reacted.
“To suggest that responding to such acts by a teenaged daughter by spanking her with an object would be educative or corrective is simply not believable or acceptable by any measure of current social consensus,” he said, adding that he viewed the incident as degrading.
The judge said the father’s testimony suggested he was downplaying how serious the spanking was.
“At the very least the father’s evidence leads me to conclude that he gave little thought, if any, to possible injuries suffered by his daughter,” de Walle said.