P.E.I. man jailed for spanking toddler

Ryan Ross rross@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on July 23, 2014

Prince Edward Island provincial court

©Guardian photo

An Island man who spanked his toddler hard enough to leave a bruise was sentenced today to 30 days in jail.

The man appeared before Judge Nancy Orr in provincial court for sentencing after previously entering a guilty plea.

The Guardian has chosen not to identify the man in order to protect the child’s identity.

During today’s appearance, Crown attorney Jeff MacDonald told the court the man and his then girlfriend were having trouble getting the child to bed one night so the accused took off the toddler’s diaper and spanked him.

The mother was aware the father planned to spank the child.

The day after the spanking the child was at daycare where staff noticed bruises on his buttocks.

Child protection services was called and the police investigated the incident.

The man later told police he took the diaper off because a spanking doesn’t hurt when it’s on.

A pre-sentence report was prepared and it detailed some of the challenges the father was facing, including mental health issues, although there was no indication they played a role in the abuse.

The parents have since separated.

Defence lawyer Thane MacEachern said his client acknowledged he took the wrong approach to dealing with the toddler, he recognized his actions were wrong and he regretted them.

In handing down a sentence, Orr said photos taken eight days after the spanking showed significant bruising that covered the whole left buttock and left marks on the other side.

“Obviously a very significant assault to leave a mark of that nature on the buttocks,” she said.

Orr said it was a matter of concern that the father took the diaper off so the spanking would hurt and she added it wasn’t acceptable to discipline a child in a way that leaves bruises.

Along with the jail time, the man will be on probation for two years after his release during which time he is to have no contact with the child unless he has permission from his probation officer and child protection services.

Orr also ordered the man to pay a $100 victim surcharge and he will have to provide a DNA sample for the national databank.