Electronic Telegraph, October 1, 1999
Father who hit solvent sniffer is admonished
By Auslan Cramb, Scotland Correspondent
A FATHER who hit his 11-year-old daughter on her legs and bottom with a belt to stop her sniffing solvents was shown leniency by a court yesterday.
The man, 31, claimed that it was a reasonable form of chastisement, although the beatings left "tram line" marks on the girl's thighs. He was admonished at Aberdeen sheriff court after being found guilty of assaulting his daughter by pulling down her jeans and underpants and hitting her several times on the legs and buttocks with a leather belt.
Sheriff Craig Caldwell said he had imposed the "very unusual" sentence because of the father's circumstances - he cares for two other children on his own and a fine would have been a penalty on the whole family. The man told the court at an earlier hearing that he had disciplined his daughter in an attempt to save her life because of her involvement in solvent abuse.
Alistair Drummond, defending, said the assault was a one-off. His client, a student at Aberdeen University, would not be able to pursue a career as a teacher because of the offence. The court was told that the girl's parents were separated and that she now lived with her mother in Aberdeenshire.
Sheriff Caldwell said: "In all the circumstances, community service is not an option." The father said: "I wish this sorry episode never happened, but I believe that I am not guilty of assault. I did discipline my daughter, but that is what it was. She was chastised, not assaulted."