The man, who is unnamed in reports, beat his son with a belt on the back and leg. The father claimed he had just "slapped" the child.
"Within many communities newly arrived in this country, children are slapped and hit for misbehavior in a way which at first excites the interest of child protection professionals," Justice Pauffley said in her ruling, in which the charges were thrown out.
|Mrs Justice Pauffley|
Pauffley said that, taking into account the fact that the family was from India, the assault did not constitute child abuse. She did not seem to specify where "cultural context" ended and where "abuse" began.
Update: The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children has released a statement on the case, stating: "Different practices are no excuse for child abuse taking place in this country and the law doesn't make that distinction. Every child deserves the right to be safe and protected from physical abuse and the courts must reflect this."