After being vindicated by Britain’s top legal minds, it looks like the country’s controversial vigilante paedophile hunter groups are here to stay.
Convicted paedophile Mark Sutherland’s lawyer had contested that evidence gathered by hunters and used to convict him had breached Article 8 of his human rights, which ensures “Respect for your private and family life.”
But judges unanimously dismissed the appeal, in effect appearing to endorse the hunters’ activities. And that has caused some concern. After the decision, Brian McConnachie QC said: “The major concern I have is that these groups are now likely to consider that they have the green light to do what they want, effectively.”
The irony is that those currently involved in the hunting community shun the idea of turning professional. Hunters pose online as ‘decoys’, pretending to be children, and interact with unsuspecting paedophiles.
Once a meeting is arranged, the hunters carry out ‘the sting’.
They film the confrontation as they present their evidence to the suspect, and post the shocking footage online.
Prior to the sting, they request pictures which are used to verify an individual’s identity. But their methodology is not foolproof; there have been incidents in the past of innocent people getting swept up in things.