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Last Updated: Friday, 21 December 2007, 12:25 GMT
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The NI Children's Commissioner has lost an attempt to force the government to ban the physical punishment of children and young people.

In a judicial review, Mr Justice Gillen said the NI secretary had not acted illegally in bringing the law in NI into line with England and Wales.

Commissioner Patricia Lewsley had argued that allowing such physical punishment was discriminatory.

She said similar acts against adults could be considered as assault.

It is understood the Commissioner's office is considering an appeal against the judgement.

The High Court judge said the legislation, which provided for a defence of reasonable chastisement of a child to a charge of assault, was not incompatible with the European Convention guaranteeing the right to freedom from degrading treatment or punishment and the right to respect for privacy and family life.

"The current legislation strictly confines the severity of corporal punishment which a parent may lawfully give to a child," he said.

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