Corpun file 23734 at www.corpun.com
The West Australian, Perth, 25 April 1930, p.4
A Claremont Prosecution.
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Arising from a caning which he gave a boy, aged 14, who had
been reported to him by a master, Canon Parry, headmaster of
Christ Church School, Claremont, was charged by the boy's father,
in the Children's Court, Fremantle, yesterday, with having
assaulted the boy. He pleaded not guilty. Mr. F.F. Horgan, S.M.,
occupied the bench. Mr. F.G. Unmack appeared for the complainant
(Joseph Lewis Weir), and Mr. J.C. Forman appeared for the
defendant, while Mr. B. Canny watched the interests of the Church
Mr. Unmack said that it was not disputed that defendant had a
right to punish a pupil. The point at issue was whether or not
the punishment administered was excessive.
Dr. H. Field Martell said that he examined the boy on the evening
of March 21, the day on which he was punished, and found a bruise
on each buttock -- one two inches and the other 2¼ inches in
diameter. There were also horizontal weals across the buttocks.
The bruises remained on the boy's body for about three weeks.
Witness took the boy to Dr. Welch, who examined him and agreed
that the caning had been too severe.
Joseph Lewis Weir, the father of the boy, said that when his son
came home on March 21 he appeared to be distressed, and told
witness that he had been caned at school. Having examined the boy
witness summoned a doctor. The boy had not been able to sit down
for two days, and the bruises had disappeared only a week ago.
The boy stated that as a result of his conduct in a detention
class on March 20 he was reported to the headmaster for
punishment. He went to the headmaster's study about 11.15 o'clock
the next morning with another boy. Mr. Parry gave him three cuts
with a cane and he rolled on the floor in pain. The other boy was
given six cuts, and witness was told to wait aside. When the
other boy had been caned, witness was given three further cuts.
The punishment was administered with the boys standing in a
stooping position. He had been caned by Mr. Parry and other
masters in the school on various previous occasions, but not so
severely as on that occasion. In the afternoon, he went to see
the Australian cricketers but could not sit down as he was too
sore. The other boy who had been caned with him was not badly
marked. He had been reported for talking in the detention class.
He had informed the master in charge of the class that he had
torn the pocket of his coat.
Cross-examined, the boy said that he had attended the Christian
Brothers' College, where he had been punished with strokes of a
strap, on the hands.
Dr. E.S. Welch, for the defence, corroborated Dr. Martell's evidence with regard to the boy's
condition, and said that he remarked, when he saw the boy's
buttocks, 'That's a fair caning', implying that the punishment
had been scientifically administered as the weals were close to
the same spot or in the same place. He emphatically denied that
he had agreed with Dr. Martell's contention that the punishment
had been excessive. From an examination of the boy's condition he
considered that such was not the case. He had had infinitely
worse canings when at school, and he did not consider those to be
Lionel Walpole Parry, the defendant, said that he had
administered what he considered was a fair punishment. He had not
caned the boy in anger, but in support of the discipline of the
school. The two boys had been reported to him by a master for
continued interruption in a detention class. He had publicly
warned the pupils at the school that, in the event of any boys
being sent from a room by a master punishment would be inflicted.
He gave one boy six cuts successively with no less force than
that applied to the two lots of three administered to the boy
Weir. He had 19 years' experience as a schoolmaster, and had
found that a stroke of a cane on the buttocks always left a weal.
The first he had heard of any ill-effects of the punishment on
Weir was when his father had rung him up during the evening. He
had nominated Dr. Welch to examine the boy.
In answer to Mr. Unmack, witness said that Weir was a nice boy,
but bubbling over with spirit. During the term he had frequently
given trouble to a particular master. The class had been retained
after the remainder of the school had been dismissed because of
the general behaviour of its members during the afternoon. During
the detention, the boys were inclined to be talkative, but, after
having been spoken to, behaved themselves, but the two who were
caned continued to interrupt, and, after speaking to them several
times, the master in charge reported them to witness. To his
knowledge no boy had left the school because of excessive
punishment during the seven and a half years in which he had been
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Peter Corsar Anderson said that he had been headmaster of Scotch
College, Claremont, since 1904. From a description of the boy's
condition, he considered that the punishment had not been
excessive. It was not unusual for a boy to receive six cuts of
the cane, and the resulting marks often lasted for about three
The boy who was caned with Weir said that when the master was
speaking, complainant's son informed him (the master) that he had
torn his coat after the master had called for silence in the
classroom. It was a rule of the school that pupils should raise a
hand when they wished to say anything to a master. He (witness)
had received six cuts and did not wish to complain of his
After further evidence had been given the Magistrate dismissed
the case. He said that he had no hesitation in saying that the
punishment had not been excessive. Mr. Weir had, unfortunately
taken a wrong view of the matter. He (Mr. Horgan) held strong
views with regard to parents interfering, directly or indirectly,
with the disciplines of schools. The fact that Canon Parry had
been brought before the Court was sufficient to endanger the
discipline of the school.
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