A man who punched and kicked his son after a call from his teacher has accepted his violence is not “the Samoan way”, a court has heard.
The Marlborough man told police he became upset when the boy’s teacher said he was showing behavioural issues, and wanted to discipline him.
The 48-year-old Samoan was sentenced for assault with intent to injure at the Blenheim District Court on Monday. He was granted name suppression to protect the identity of his son.
His lawyer Kent Arnott said the man was ashamed of his behaviour.
READ MORE: Father beats son after call from teacher
“He feels he has brought shame to his family and shame to the wider Samoan community.”
Judge Bill Hastings said the man’s reaction to the phone call on March 6 was “out of all proportion”.
The man put his hands around the boy’s neck, lifting him about 30 centimetres off the ground by the throat, partially choking him, before throwing him across the room.
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He then kicked his son in the stomach, grabbed him by the shirt collar, pulling him to his feet, before punching him in the face.
“You did this in the presence of your other, younger children,” Judge Hastings said, with the help of a Samoan translator.
The other children were scared and crying, and tried to run outside in case they were beaten too, a victim impact statement said.
“But worst of all is the victim himself feels responsible for you beating him. [He] says he does not want to be frightened any more,” Judge Hastings said.
“The home should be a place where your children feel safe. It is your responsibility as a parent to make their home a safe place.
“When children see a parent behaving this way, they are more likely to copy that behaviour themselves. This may go some way to explaining your son’s behaviour at school.”
The man was removed from the family home by Child Youth and Family after the assault.
He went to meetings with his family and social workers, attended by about 30 people, showing his wider family had taken an interest, Arnott said.
“He accepts this was not just discipline. He accepts this was not just the Samoan way, this was assault,” Arnott said.
His pastor and wife were in court to support him.
“This sort of behaviour is as unacceptable in Samoa as it is here,” Judge Hastings said.
“No sort of culture condones this sort of violence in the home. Furthermore, the bible and Christianity does not condone this sort of violence.
“There is absolutely no excuse for this kind of behaviour.”
He had no previous convictions.
Judge Hastings had considered a sentence of imprisonment after reading the summary of facts, he said.
But he decided to impose a sentence with rehabilitative and punitive aspects, he said.
The man was sentenced to 18 months’ supervision, with conditions to do counselling and programmes as directed by probation.
He was also to complete 150 hours’ community work, 20 per cent of which could be converted to basic living skills courses.