CALGARY - Spanking his unruly pre-teen on her bare bottom with his belt has landed a Calgary man time behind bars.
The Alberta Court of Appeal, in a decision released Friday, said the two years probation and community service handed Mark Anthony Harris was inappropriate.
Instead, the appeal judges ordered Harris to serve a nine-month custodial sentence on a charge of assault with a weapon.
Justice Bruce McDonald, in handing down the unanimous decision, said provincial court Judge Sean Dunnigan failed to give enough weight to the aggravating circumstances in the case.
McDonald noted two of those factors, the victim's age, and the fact Harris was in a position of trust as her father, are specifically noted in the Criminal Code as serious.
McDonald said the aggravating factors "and the need for denunciation and deterrence of such conduct" warranted jail time.
"This was a severe and savage beating that caused scabs and abrasions," he said.
Dunnigan had placed Harris on probation last July 26, after he pleaded guilty to unlawfully disciplining his nine-year-old daughter.
Dunnigan said the fact the offender's common-law wife had encouraged him to take such actions against his daughter weighed in his favour.
"The sentencing judge commented that the respondent was cajoled by his common-law spouse into using inappropriate discipline methods," McDonald noted.
"The common-law spouse, unlike the respondent, seemed utterly remorseless and refused to admit that there was anything wrong with the course of discipline pursued."
The girl, who was with Harris for 10 months after her substance addicted mother could no longer care for her, suffers from fetal alcohol effect and was difficult to handle, the top court noted.
She is now in the care of her maternal grandmother.