An immigrant father who whipped his children with an electrical cable and threatened to stab them has been spared jail because he told the court he didn’t know his actions were illegal in Britain. One boy was left scared and bleeding.
The case is likely to have been influenced by the legal precedent established in June, when a high court judge ruled that Immigrants should be allowed to “slap and hit” their children because of a “different cultural context.”
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, originally from The Gambia in West Africa, used an electrical cable with the plug attached to strike his two teenage sons. The younger one claimed he was beaten 50 times over an 18 months period.
The father said he had “no choice,” after the boy’s school phoned about their bad behavior, the Daily Mail reports.
The father from Blackpool, Lancashire, admitted assault and cruelty charges at Burnley Crown Court. However, he was given a suspended jail term after he said he had received similar treatment at the hands of his own father in Africa, which was presented as a mitigating factor.
Prosecutor Judith McCullough explained how one of the boys became very distressed when the school threatened to call his father in November 2013. The man was contacted by social services, but promised no violence would occur.
However, just months later, in October the 2013, the boy returned to teachers to explain that he had been beaten by his father with the electrical cable because he caught the wrong bus home.
McCullough said: “His father came into the room with an electrical cable. His older brother stood up and he was struck twice on the stomach and back… The defendant then began to hit the younger child with the cable. Their father told them he would stab them to death with a knife.”
The boy told police of one particular incident when he was left scarred and bleeding because his father hit him over the head with the plug of a shaver cable because he didn’t want his hair shaved short.
The father moved to Britain to give his children a better education, he said.
Defense counsel Waheed Omran-Barber said: “He firmly believed he was acting in the best interests of his children. This isn’t a case where he was neglecting to feed them, where he was being cruel for the sake of being cruel.”
Adding that, in Africa, “if he misbehaved he would be beaten and he grew up with that ideology in mind.”
The man was sentenced to a year in jail, suspended for 18 months, with 12 months supervision.
Sentencing him, Judge Jonathan Gibson said: “Physical chastisement of this kind is wholly unacceptable and illegal. There’s really no mitigation in your saying you were ignorant of the law.”