An appeal court in London, the United Kingdom, has sentenced a Nigerian man to three years in jail for physically abusing his nine-year-old son.
The offender, 66, initially got away with 22 months imprisonment at the end of his trial at the Crown Court in Woolwich, South-east London, which the government disagreed with.
The UK government, through the Solicitor General for England and Wales, appealed against the sentence imposed by the Crown Court of Woolwich, describing it as unduly lenient.
It was maintained that the trial court, imposing a 22-month custodial sentence, did not consider “any aggravating factors increasing the seriousness of the offence”.
Following the government’s appeal against the trial court’s sentence, the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales in London raised the punishment to three years jail term.
The sentence of 22 months imprisonment will be quashed and replaced by a sentence of three years imprisonment.
He was also ordered to pay £500 in compensation to his son, whose name was withheld by the court because of his age, and costs in the sum of £250. A victim surcharge, meaning a fine, was also to apply, although the amount was not disclosed.
According to the court documents, the father repeatedly struck him across the back using metal sticks or rods, which he retrieved from a basket next to the television in the living room. He also used his belt repeatedly to strike him on the back, arms and shoulders.
The nine-year-old son cried loudly while one of his sisters witnessed the assault. Two days later, the mother came home to find her son in pain. She saw the marks on his body. She confronted the offender, who admitted what he had done at that stage but did not accept that his actions were wrong.
She took her child to the hospital, where he was found to have multiple horizontal bruises across his back and arms, linear in appearance and consistent with the use of a metal stick-like implement. He also had bruises on his shoulders and his head, as well as cuts on his hands.
The offender at that stage felt very remorseful but, when interviewed he denied assaulting the little boy, his son or any of his children with a stick or belt and denied putting him in a stressed position.
Instead, he blamed his wife. He said she had encouraged the kids to fabricate allegations against him because she was upset with him over citizenship and her family’s entry into this country.
At the appeal the defense lawyer, N. Carter, justified the sentence imposed by the trial judge.
Ms. Carter said the judge followed a considered and balanced approach and that the final sentence that he imposed could not be said to be unduly lenient.
She argued that the offender did not have deliberate disregard for his son’s welfare but instead wanted to instill proper standards in him.
SENSES (Child Safeguarding and Protection Issues):
The purpose of discipline is to help a child to be conscious of their dignity of human person and not to destroy the child in the process.
This concept called discipline is the most misunderstood concept when it comes to raising children in our world today.
Yet, discipline is not necessarily instruction but an exemplified culture. It is not necessarily inundating our precious children with rules but building meaningful relationships, aimed at guiding our precious children into making godly choices.
The word discipline has its root in Latin, which means to teach. How do you teach? Abraham Lincoln says ‘to train up a child the way he should go, you have to go there first and come back to take the child with you.’ That is why we keep saying that our precious children are either beneficiaries or victims of our examples.
So what is the link between discipline and abuse? Well, if discipline and abuse were persons, they live on parallel lanes and do not see eyeball to eyeball. They are like water and oil and do not get along . They do not meet and if for whatever reason they meet, they will never mix.
To abuse a child is to deny him/her of his/her personhood. To dehumanize the child.
To discipline is to help a child through example, reasoning and persuasion help a child to be conscious of her dignity of human person and be guided by it. To achieve this we as primary and secondary parents must accept children as persons, who first are of worth, made in God’s image and likeness, second, are reasoning being, with a sense of judgement and third, have the power of choice.
STONE (Call to action):
As a Child-Focused Organization that is vested on the cause of Securing a Friendly and Protective Environment ® for our precious children we call on primary and secondary parents to understand that discipline is a culture.
We must understand that discipline can only be achieved by way of example, as our precious children learn from the example exhibited towards them.
Further, we must understand that the outcome of discipline should never be to destroy a child. We must always consider the individuality of every child under our care and put into consideration their level maturity when practicing the culture of discipline.
Discipline includes a number of well-stipulated instructions, corrective measures and actions. I strongly agree with your point that there is a significant difference between discipline and abuse.
There are two major issues here; firstly, cultural background of the parents, secondly, environmental factor. I know for sure that abuse is abuse, but the father failed to realize that what is acceptable in his home country is not permissible in his current place of abode, (environmental factor).
Parental aspect is another area that is needed to be incorporated into your good job. Parenting education is critical and crucial at this time, we need to know and understand the types of parental control tools to be adopted to ensure that parents instill discipline on their children. In addition, the degree of punitive measures to be imposed on them.
Lastly, regardless of geographical locations, we don’t have to abuse our children. However, we cannot compare the Western world child’s upbringing with the third world countries. I believe that there are many things we can learn and imbibe from the West, but it should be a win-win affair, (not ‘policy of assimilation’ but rather be a ‘policy of association’). There is an African proverb that says that “parent who fails to yell at his/her child, will run with his/her bow legs at old age.”
Thank you Comrade.