B.C. court says mother accused of assaulting son, 8, was acting in self-defence


A mother accused of assaulting her eight-year-old son has been found not guilty by a B.C. provincial court judge who ruled she was acting in self-defence.

The court heard that the boy has behaviour patterns that make him difficult to parent and had regular tantrums.

When his mother refused to buy him a toy, the court heard the boy acted out, swearing at her, calling her names and kicking her several times on the leg.

The mother testified she grabbed the boy as she’d been taught by counsellors and then fell to the ground where she straddled him while holding him down.

The boy testified his mother tripped him, then he hit is head on a power pole and when he fell to the ground she pushed his face into dog feces.

But Judge Richard Hewson said there wasn’t any corroborating evidence of the boy’s testimony and found the woman not guilty, saying the degree of force might be reasonable while she defended herself from harm.

“Wrestling the child to the ground, causing scrapes and bruises, would not have been proportional had (the boy) simply thrown a tantrum, without kicking his mother,” he said in the ruling issued last month. “However, the law of assault does not make an exception requiring parents to tolerate assaults by their children.”

The judge said he did not believe taking a child to the ground, resulting in bruises and scratches, is a reasonable way to correct behaviour.

“The act of physically restraining a child by hugging him is an act animated by a concern for the child’s safety. In contrast, the act of wrestling the child to the ground is an act animated by anger and frustration.”