Criminal Lawyer calls vigilante videos, catching alleged predators, dangerous – CHEK

Criminal Lawyer says such stings should be left to the RCMP

A well know criminal lawyer says he’s very wary about the vigilante videos in Nanaimo trying to out sexual predators.

This past week a Nanaimo man, known as “Robi Lawfull” has posted two videos online of men he alleges were wanting meeting a 13-year-old for sex.

A highly respected criminal lawyer says there are several problems he sees with how they’re being recorded and might be used.

“The danger here is these people have a motive and their motive is to catch these child predators,” says Bert King. “That’s a dangerous thing because that takes away from their objectivity. The RCMP don’t have a motive. They just investigate crime.”

The first video posted last week shows a Victoria man, who Lawfull alleges came to Woodgrove Mall to meet a 13-year-old girl for sex.

The second video went online Saturday and Lawful accuses this man of wanting to meet a 13-year-old boy for sex.

Lawfull has provided the video and chat logs from both to police.

“We need more awareness and to get these people off the streets and get them whatever quote unquote help they need,” says Lawfull.

It’s a similar situation to a highly publicized Chilliwack case where teenagers dressed as Superheros confronted men planning to meet 15-year-olds.

The superheroes cooperated with Mounties and their evidence led to charges of child luring against three men.

At least two ended with no criminal conviction on agreement to a 12 month recognizance, which put them under court conditions related to children.

It was an outcome that may have turned out more severely for the perpetrators if RCMP had conducted the entire investigation.

“Courts will look at it very very carefully only because all of what was said may not be before the courts,” says King. “With the RCMP you can count 99 times out of 100 that what they’ve disclosed is as a general rule what they did.”

King also echoes the Mounties’ safety concerns about such stings, having represented hundreds of people involved in assaults.

“Someone catches you setting them up (and) the next thing you know someone’s getting a beating within an inch of their life. That is dangerous.”

King says there is no reason why an adult should ever be meeting a 13 year old for sex but he says such stings should really be conducted by the RCMP.

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