Man cleared of ill-treating child

A MAN who admitted smacking a child and washing her mouth out with soap has been cleared of ill-treating the youngster.Adrian Chaplin, of Maidstone Road, Felixstowe today said he was completely relieved to be acquitted of the charge and could not believe it had ever got to court.

A MAN who admitted smacking a child and washing her mouth out with soap has been cleared of ill-treating the youngster.

Adrian Chaplin, of Maidstone Road, Felixstowe today said he was completely relieved to be acquitted of the charge and could not believe it had ever got to court.

The 27-year-old accepted that he had smacked a girl he was babysitting between January 1, 2000 and September 9, 2005 but he did not know how many times.

Speaking after his trial at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court he said: “I smacked her when she was going to climb out of my sash windows and one time when she tried to chuck the cat in the bath.


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“Smacking was something I was brought up with.

“I don't regret my actions. I just wanted her to behave herself and not to turn out bad like some children do today.

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“In a way I think smacking should be allowed because there are quite a few children who are unruly these days.”

Kate Miller, prosecuting Chaplin said there had been wilful neglect when the defendant had carried out the punishment.

She said he had smacked her several times, pulling down her trousers and knickers to hit her bottom and, on one occasion, leaving a red mark.

She said the child, who was six when Chaplin was arrested last October, had suffered as a result of the punishment and her mother had asked him to stop.

Ms Miller said the defendant had then started “clipping her around the ear” instead.

But District Judge David Cooper said he did not believe Chaplin had ill treated the girl.

He said: “He explained his reasons for disciplining her and said he had brought her up to be polite and a little angel.

“He explained his feelings and said there was no way he would do anything to harm her and it is clear that he didn't.

“He had ideas that are perhaps, nowadays, treated as old-fashioned.

“He agrees now that it wasn't the right thing to do to put soap in the child's mouth and asked whether he thought it was the right thing to smack her he said 'now no, then yes”.

Chaplin said he and the child's mother had been like brother and sister but that the legal process had “torn them apart”.

He added: “This was a waste of time and could have been dealt with by social services or me and her mother.

“It was a waste of time and money for everyone.”

Do you think it was right that the case got to court? Write to: Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail: eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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