WINNIPEG - A Manitoba man has been spared a criminal record for whipping his 11-year-old foster daughter with a riding crop as punishment for bad school behaviour.
The 49-year-old man, who can't be named to protect the identity of the girl, pleaded guilty to assault and was given a two-year conditional discharge on Monday.
He admits striking the girl 10 times in the buttocks, which caused her to go to hospital with minor injuries.
The Crown was seeking a suspended sentence, which would have resulted in a blemish on his otherwise clean record.
But Queen’s Bench Justice Doug Abra said he was impressed by the "honestly and candour" displayed by the accused in explaining his actions.
Crown attorney Debbie Buors told court the man quoted Bible verses as he struck the girl, who was put in his family’s care by Child and Family Services after being seized from a distant relative.
He was telling her "Spare the rod, spoil the child" and "When you are evil you go to Hell," while dishing out the punishment on the family’s property in eastern Manitoba.
As she was being struck, the girl told police she repeatedly asked the man why he was hurting her.
"She was quoting the scripture back to him," said Buors. "She was telling him 'That’s like putting evil on a child, whipping them with a horse whip.'"
Defence lawyer Jay Prober said his client was frustrated over ongoing disciplinary issues with the girl, specifically while she was at school.
There had been a number of problems, which included acting out in class and making inappropriate comments.
The "trigger" for the incident was the girl mocking the word "pianist" in class, instead referring to it as "penis", court was told.
"Verbal words were not having an effect on her. She was going to have to have a spank," the man told court on Monday. He said he’d used corporal punishment in the past on his other children as a "last resort."
"I don’t think (at the time) it was out of order. I’m finding out now maybe it was," he admitted.
The man said the criminal case has ripped his tight-knit family apart because he hasn’t been allowed to see the girl for the past three years while on bail awaiting trial.
"I feel like my child has been abducted from me," he said.
(Winnipeg Free Press)