Straightforward reporting of common sense prevailing:

A father found guilty of assault for smacking his 12-year-old son as a form of discipline has had the verdict overturned.

South Australia’s Supreme Court has ruled the actions of the Air Force pilot, who smacked his son three times, were not unreasonable for the purpose of correcting behaviour.

Justice David Peek said the smacks, one to the boy’s bare thigh and two to his shorts, left some redness but no bruising and did not warrant the guilty verdict.

It’s not so straightforward at ABC News, which devotes only 40 words of its story to the acquittal, without elaborating on the court’s reasoning or the nature of the alleged assault, while 289 words are given to explaining why smacking is bad:

Senior lecturer in social work at Monash University, Dr Bernadette Saunders, said hitting sent the message that violence was a reasonable way to settle conflict.

“It is never OK to smack a child. It is not necessary; there are other more positive and respectful ways of responding to children,” she said.

Dr Saunders said often parents smacked a child out of frustration, and a more positive way to deal with the situation was to have time out for children and parents for things to “settle down a bit”.

She also said it was often possible to speak with children so they understood boundaries and hazards.

Thanks for the tip, Dr Saunders; speaking to a misbehaving child is the best ever behaviour management strategy.

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