Sexually active girl's parents fined

TONY BLAIS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:39 PM ET

EDMONTON - A bizarre case involving an Edmonton couple convicted of assault for using a belt to spank their sexually active 14-year-old daughter ended Thursday with fines.

However, that was after the father was escorted from the courtroom for refusing to listen to the judge, a spectator was ejected for wearing glasses containing a video camera and a mass chorus of objections was loudly raised after a packed room of supporters were criticized.

Lawrence (Larry) Zachow, a 60-year-old mortgage broker and pastor, and Aida Calagui-Zachow, a 54-year-old housewife, were each sentenced to 10 days in jail, which was deemed served by the five days they spent behind bars after being arrested and charged.

As well, the couple was hit with a $500 fine after being convicted of failing to appear in court for their trial.

Judge Michael Stevens-Guille noted the parents have shown no remorse and feel their religious beliefs give them the right to discipline their children as they see fit.

While he ruled he could not sentence them for their unacceptance of the rightness of their conviction, he said a strong message to parents may be useful.

"Whatever one's belief in higher authority, if you live in Canada you are subject to the laws of Canada as interpreted by the courts, in this case the Supreme Court of Canada,"said Stevens-Guille.

"Spare the rod and spoil the child is not the byword of the discipline of children in this country in 2010," he said.

The Zachows had been charged with assault with a weapon for the Jan. 15, 2008, strapping, however, the judge found them guilty of the lesser and included offence of assault.

Stevens-Guille ruled he found beyond a reasonable doubt the mother had struck her daughter with the belt "at least three times" on the buttocks on the orders of the father, who pinned her down and held her legs over her head.

However, the judge accepted the parents were disciplining the teen, not just reacting in anger to her actions.

Court heard at trial the Zachows had confronted their daughter about her dating a boy and the then-Grade 9 student had admitted to being sexually active. The "upset" Zachows then told her to break off the relationship.

The teen defiantly saw the boy again the following day and told her parents that after coming home late.

Things then escalated and resulted in her dad guiding her to her bedroom by placing his hand on her neck and pulling her hair. She was then spanked with the belt.

The teen told a school official and police were called.

On Thursday, the hearing began with Zachow repeatedly demanding the judge cease the case against him and his wife and when he refused to stop despite Stevens-Guille's insistence, the judge ordered a sheriff to remove him.

He was eventually let back in, but continued saying things suggesting he does not accept the court's jurisdiction.

Crown prosecutor Jason Track told court Zachow has "zero respect for the law" and later referred to his many supporters in the courtroom as being "like-minded."

That comment led to many of the people in the packed gallery to simultaneously yell out "objection."

A man with glasses containing a video camera was also ejected.

tony.blais@sunmedia.ca


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