(146)  Spanking children, Scots law and the development of tourism

A story overlooked last year concerned a French tourist from near Beauvais, who was arrested in Edinburgh on 22 September 2001 and then spent two days in police cells, after complaints that he had smacked his 8-year old son on the bottom outside an Indian restaurant.  The father indicated that he was punishing his child for throwing a tantrum inside the restaurant.  The child was examined at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh and found to have suffered no damage.  The father appeared in Edinburgh Sheriff Court on 24 September when he was charged with assault; the trial will take place in 2002.  The mother said: I will never visit Scotland again.  I just cannot understand how it can happen.  Phil Gallie, Conservative justice spokesman in Scotland said: It is criminal that the police considered taking this action … Its up to the parents if they want to smack their child.  This does no good for our image abroad.  (The Times, 13 Oct 2001).  The Scottish Executive has plans for legislation under which it will be illegal for parent to smack children under the age of 3, or to hit any of their children on the head, shake them, or strike them with any implement.