Father loses appeal against assault charge on daughter
QUEENSLAND'S highest court has rejected the theory a family violence booklet influenced a jury in convicting a Sunshine Coast father who used a bamboo stick to discipline his daughter.
The man, who cannot be named to protect his daughter's identity, was sentenced to 120 hours of community service after a jury in Maroochydore District Court found him guilty of assault.
The 14-year-old daughter gave evidence during the trial that her father dealt two series of blows with a long stick on November 20, 2011, after he caught her using her iPod and she swore under her breath.
The man claimed in the Court of Appeal that he had a defence to the assault charge he faced because section 280 of the Queensland Criminal Code allowed a parent to use reasonable force for the correction, discipline, management or control of a child.
This exception is not mentioned in the domestic and family violence booklet found in the jury room after the verdict was delivered.
The Pacific Paradise father argued the booklet showed the jury had taken independent research against the judge's directions and there was a real risk it had influenced them.
Justice Robert Gotterson said he accepted the booklet should not have been accessed or brought into the jury room.
But he said he considered it unlikely the document had influenced the jury, pointing to a question the panel asked the trial judge.
Justice Gotterson said the judge told them they must assess "reasonableness" using their own measures, not community standards, and they returned a verdict soon after.
"It is most unlikely that a jury member, conscious of this direction, would then resort to the document in order to gain an impression of what a community standard of reasonableness might be," he said.
"I am therefore persuaded that the jury would have returned the same verdict if this irregularity had not occurred."