A bloke who was said to have pointed a loaded gun at an eight-year-old boy and threatened to shoot him if he did not get off the computer deserves a bit more sympathy than a vengeful society is likely to give him.
Only a bit of sympathy, mind you.
Firing the bloody gun (as was alleged) would have gone too far.
But it has taken several years to have him dragged before the court, which is a clear case of denying the old adage about justice delayed being justice denied.
The bloke in question is one Geoffrey John Buckley, 35.
The story of his alleged offence is told by Stuff here.
The Central Hawke’s Bay man faces three charges of recklessly discharging a firearm in front of his partner and her children between February 2007 and August 2008.
Buckley is on trial in the Napier District Court today.
So what has brought him into court?
A brat, by the sounds of it.
The sort of brat we fathers are no longer allowed to beat when they become troublesome, thanks to namby-pamby laws that get in the way of good discipline.
The eight-year-old son of Buckley’s partner was misbehaving and ignoring requests to get off the computer, Crown prosecutor Josh Lucas told the court.
The little bugger wouldn’t do what he was asked to do.
And it is illegal to give him a clip around the ears, which was a very effective form of discipline in the good old days.
What to do?
Here’s what the court was told:
Buckley left the room, went into his gun cabinet and returned with a shotgun.
Lucas said Buckley pointed the gun at the boy and told him to get off the computer or he would shoot him.
The boy did as he was told and backed away immediately.
It worked, if that’s what happened.
It did what words could not do and it got the child off the computer.
So far, so good (although pointing a gun at a boy would risk giving the boy the idea that this is acceptable behaviour and hence may cause some misgivings in some child-rearing circles).
What allegedly happened next is not so laudable.
Buckley still shot the gun in front of the boy, his mother and younger brother.
The bullet smashed the computer monitor and broke a nearby window.
Buckley is alleged to have said he thought the gun was not loaded, which (if true) would be extremely lax of him, and would amount to strong evidence he should not be allowed to go anywhere near guns.
This view is reinforced by the allegations there has been extreme negligence on previous occasions.
A bullet narrowly missed his partner’s head in a separate incident, when Buckley shot a rifle while the pair were in their bedroom. The bullet flew past her face and lodged into a wall, Lucas said.
Buckley shot the woman in the leg with an airgun in front of the children, on a third occasion. The woman was permanently scarred from the shot. Both times, Buckley thought the gun was not loaded.
Obviously this would mean Buckley is a slow learner, if things transpired as described.
But if events transpired as set out here, he can teach us how to get a brat off the computer without clipping him around the ears, and this is an admirable talent.
UPDATE: Let the record show Buckley has been found not guilty of pointing a loaded gun at an eight-year-old and shooting the computer he refused to get off.
He has been cleared of two charges of recklessly discharging a firearm and a charge of recklessly firing an airgun in front of his partner and her children between February 2007 and August 2008.