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A v United Kingdom [1998] 2 F.L.R. 959 (ECHR), 23 September 1998

Facts: the applicant is a young boy who was beaten with a stick and abused by his step-father and examined by a pediatrician who found bruises. The stepfather was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and tried before a jury, but claimed the defense of reasonable punishment, whereby he was acquitted by the jury verdict.

Complaint: The applicant claimed that the UK failed to protect him from ill-treatment by his stepfather.

Holding: the ECHR held that the beating of the applicant by his stepfather constituted "inhuman or degrading punishment", in breach of article 3 the European Convention and that current UK domestic law failed to provide adequate protection

Reasoning: the treatment of the applicant by his stepfather had been sufficiently severe to reach the level prohibited by Article 3. The State failed to protect the applicant despite its positive obligation under the Convention to protect since children and other vulnerable individuals, in the form of effective deterrence, from such forms of ill-treatment.

 

 

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