Father in smacking case loses court plea

By Richard Savill

A TEACHER convicted of assaulting his eight-year-old daughter by smacking her bottom in a dentist’s waiting room yesterday lost his appeal against a supervision order enabling social workers to monitor the welfare of the girl and her two younger brothers.

The father, aged 48, is the first parent in Britain to be convicted of smacking his child. Dismissing the appeal at Hamilton Sheriff Court, Sheriff William Gibson said the decision in August by a Children’s Panel to impose the supervision order had not contravened procedures.

The man was convicted of assault in May after a court ruled that the daughter had experienced “unnecessary suffering”. At yesterday’s appeal hearing, the father’s lawyer, Joe Beltrami, said the order was unjustified, unnecessary and unreasonable. It was an intrusion into the family’s life and the smacking incident had been a “momentary lapse”.

Gordon Sloan, reporter to the Children’s Panel, said social workers had been concerned about the family since 1995. He felt the girl’s mother was suffering from low esteem. She had phoned the Metropolitan Police saying that her adoptive father had murdered her natural mother.

She had continued to send up to two letters a week to the police making claims about other alleged murder cases featuring characters from Walt Disney cartoons and Sesame Street. The children’s father had suffered from stress and at one point had been suspended from his work.