Australian Mother Prosecuted For Smacking Daughter
'Mum In Court Over Smacking' by Ryan Heffernan The Courier-Mail, 2/6/2004

A Gold Coast mother faced court yesterday charged with smacking her five-year-old daughter for spilling milk.

The Molendinar woman, 40, pleaded guilty to common assault after police on February 14 responded to calls from an anonymous informant who said a child was being beaten.

"(The girl)told police her mother had hit her in the face, mouth and back," police prosecutor Sergeant Jim Pedlow told the Southport Magistrate's Court. The girl told police her mother had hit her for spilling milk, Sergeant Pedlow said.

"Police then observed a handprint on her back." Police had then spoken to the girl's mother, who said she had lost her temper and hit the child as she was running away from her.

Under Queensland law, it is not an offence for a parent to physically discipline a child but police may charge parents if they believe them to have gone too far.

In handing down a probationary period of nine months, Magistrate Ron Kilner said it was by no means the most serious assault he had seen but encouraged the woman to take part in any program put forward by her probation officer.

After the hearing, the woman said police had gone too far in charging her.

"It was the second day of a heatwave and I told her 10 times she couldn't have a milkshake," she said. "Her response to that was to pour a three-litre bottle of milk on the ground and a half a box of Coco Pops. My youngest slipped over in the mess and I nearly did too."