EDMONTON, December 13, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The parents of a 14-year-old girl were sentenced each to 10 days in jail plus a $500 fine on December 9 for using a belt to spank their daughter. They had been found guilty of assault in June of this year, but sentencing was put off until a later date.
The jail time was remitted due to the five days the couple spent locked up after being arrested, according to Quebec Media Inc.
Lawrence Zachow, 60, and his wife Aida Calagui-Zachow, 54, were originally charged with assault with a weapon for the Jan. 15, 2008 spanking. However, Judge Michael Stevens-Guille found them guilty of the lesser offense of assault, saying he understood the parents were disciplining the girl according to their religious beliefs, and not just reacting in anger.
“Whatever one’s belief in higher authority, if you live in Canada you are subject to the laws of Canada as interpreted by the courts, in this case the Supreme Court of Canada,” Stevens-Guille said in the ruling. “Spare the rod and spoil the child is not the byword of the discipline of children in this country in 2010,” he added.
According to QMI, the court was told that the spanking was the result of a confrontation between the parents and the daughter, in ninth grade at the time, over the girl’s admission that she was having sex with her boyfriend. She refused her parents’ request to break off the relationship.
Following the spanking, which the girl told the court did not hurt, she reported her parents to a school official who called the police.
At the hearing Mr. Zachow reportedly demanded that the judge drop the case against him, saying the court had no jurisdiction to rule on the discipline he gave his daughter.
Subsequently, Judge Stevens-Guille had Mr. Zachow removed from the court, but he was eventually allowed to return, where he continued to call into question the court’s jurisdiction.
In 2004, the Supreme Court of Canada banned spanking of children under 2 and over 12 and criminalized it at any age with an implement such as the common wooden spoon.
At the time, Dr. Charles McVety, president of the Canada Family Action Coalition, charged the Supreme Court with having overstepped the bounds of its authority.
“I believe the Supreme Court of Canada has grossly breached democratic principles by not simply interpreting law but rather blatantly rewriting it,” he said. “These new laws are not mentioned anywhere in Section 43 or any other area of the criminal act. In a democracy, the writing of laws is strictly reserved for elected members of legislatures. No hired or appointed individual should enact laws. That is only found in dictatorships.”