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 a judge.
They are also prohibited from doling out corporal punishment to any minors in their care, and both the mother and father will be required to provide a DNA sample.
Provincial court Judge Edmond de Walle convicted the couple earlier this year.
'No clue' corporal punishment illegal
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.
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.
In a Jan. 19 decision that found the couple guilty, de Walle 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.
"I don't want my parents to have a criminal record."
The parents' lawyer, Ian McTavish, noted at a sentencing hearing Tuesday that the teenager is not the one who complained about the spanking.
McTavish read a three-page statement from the girl, who said she feels like she doesn't have a voice in the case.
"I don't want my parents to have a criminal record. I want them to be able to help out in the school and community,'' she wrote.
McTavish asked for an unconditional sentence, but the Crown lawyer Mariane Armstrong argued each parent should serve a three-month sentence in the community, followed by probation.
Armstrong acknowledged the parents have shown remorse, but said she believed it stemmed from the publicity surrounding the case, not regret about their actions.
"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
De Walle noted during sentencing that the parents have undergone counselling and clearly do not present a risk to the community.
The judge said he had received many letters praising the couple's Christian values, positive parenting and volunteer work.
But de Walle admonished the parents for not looking for other ways to deal with their child's behaviour.
In his January decision, de Walle said any reasonable parent would be concerned about their child sending nude photos, but the judge 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. (Salmon Arm Observer)