Immigrants should be allowed to "slap and hit" their children because of a "different cultural context" when they are new arrivals in Britain, a High Court judge suggested yesterday.

Mrs Justice Pauffley indicated police and social services should make allowances for immigrant groups, as she heard an application from an Indian man alleged to have beaten his wife and seven-year-old son.

The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said in evidence heard by the court he was hit on the back and leg with a "long belt".

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