Over the Easter weekend, there have been a number of serious incidents involving copycat paedophile hunters trying to make a name for themselves within the social media world.
Their behaviour will only lead to child sex offenders walking free from court and will not protect children from child sex abuse.
Although we would all love to see offenders named and shamed we have to stay within the bounds of the legal system to ensure these offenders are brought to justice.
They will only result in offenders walking free from court due to no prospect of a realistic prosecution damaging the reputation of all of the online paedophile groups.
This weekend two groups have shamed the online paedophile catching community and damaging the hard work and passion these groups work hard to achieve, hunters, spend 14 hours a day chatting to offenders, securing evidence and handing it to the police.
They do not ruin things by trying to push the boundaries with the live streaming of locations and suspects and then challenge them in a violent manner. This will only get you arrested the suspect will become the victim.
If the hunters support the police or not they should ensure that the police are aware of any confrontation that is about to happen and during this ensure the hunters comply with the law they follow the legal process and only when a person is brought to justice they then release confrontation videos and names of offenders. Otherwise, that hard work and evidence is wasted.
The Hunted One and Shane Brannigan have both gone a step too far by live streaming and attacking offenders for their self-gain for one purpose to build likes on their Facebook pages. Stop the live feeds and start protecting the children. Yes we would all love to shout and scream at these suspects but it will only achieve a lost court case, that person walking free, simply because that is the way the legal system works.
We fully respect what both of these groups are trying to achieve but they are doing it wrong. Stay within the bounds of the law and you have no come back. It’s not about protecting child sex offenders it is about bringing them to justice and by doing so we are protecting our children.
Shouting and screaming at a suspect only limits the evidence that can be gathered during the video confrontation and a good legal team supporting the suspect would argue the confession was made under threat. That video will then be played to a jury in court who could bin the entire case based on the video and the impact it has had on the offender. If it makes it that far.
When you have what you have why do you need to push the boundaries with shouting and fear of violence? Why do you need to loose it with the police on arrival? you’ve already got what you came for you’ve just caught a suspected offender and taken them off the streets anything else will just belittle and destabilise the case.
Police Hour has always publically supported Dark Justice because of the way in which they operate, we recently called for police forces across the UK to start working with groups such as Dark Justice. We’d also fully support ‘The Hunted One’ & ‘Shane Brannigan’ if they followed the legal system and did not live stream stings.
They argue they did this to protect children, but how can you protect children when your actions will only lead to suspected offenders walking free?
In the ideal world, we would all love offenders to be paraded and shamed, but we have to comply with a legal process and failure to comply means those arrested will be NFAed by the Crown Prosecution Service.
During one confrontation ‘Shane Brannigan’ screamed at a police office I have no respect for authority moments before cops arrived he held the suspect and made threats of violence towards him for over 23 minutes in a threatening manner while he was pinned against a mental barrier the suspected child groomer said ‘are you police’ Brannigan answered ‘CID I’m F**king better than the police’ and also made racist comments to the suspect while making threats to smash his face in.
During the live stream, Brannigan and another man ensured the suspected offender was pinned to a fence while surrounded by his group all shouting and screaming at him and making individual threats of violence.
The officers had just arrived to assist at the incident and had no idea what was happening one officer requested to speak to Brannigan while another wanted to speak to the suspected child groomer they had no idea what was happening and attempted to establish facts.
Brannigan became very violent towards the police officer ‘i do not respect you stop interpreting my investigations let me do it my way”. She was forced to call for assistance.
During the live stream, the officer can be heard saying ‘i need back up fast, tell them to hurry up’.
In another sting, Shane Brannigan claims he is a child enforcer after forcing his way into someone’s house with violence while it is all live streamed.
The Hunted One have announced they are taking a break after one of their live streams went wrong when they confronted a suspected child sex offender on live stream a member of the public turned up and attacked the suspect in a sustained and violent attack at the Bridgewater shopping centre.
Security staff unaware of what was happening rushed to the scene to protect the man from the attack. The suspected offender is surrounded by a large group of men while being asked questions all of a sudden he is attacked.
Although the public would love to see these incidents happening to offenders they only serve as self-gain for these two groups as they will only ruin any chances of a criminal prosecution.
If an offender is violently confronted there is an instant defence that due to the fear of violence and intimidation they were forced to admit the guilt in the offence due to fear, backed up by threats of violence and actual bodily harm these suspected offenders in both live streams will walk free.
Although no member of ‘The Hunted One’ attacked the offender they should be well aware that ‘live streaming’ suspected offenders would lead to members of the public swarming in to attack an offender. They are ultimately responsible as they named the location, pictured the suspect and streamed it all live for everyone to see.
If an offender within an ongoing criminal investigation is shown to the public this will have a huge impact on the ‘right to a fair trail’ due to the video being streamed online for the world to see any jury member selected could have already seen the video impacting the right to a fair trail meaning these cases may not even make it to court. admittedly this is not fair but we do not write the laws.
Finally, within these two videos, both suspected offenders were verbally and physically assaulted this will only result in these groups themselves being arrested for a number of potential offences which could range from breach of the peace to assault.
All these of these reasons impact the right to a fair trail and create an unrealistic chance of any case reaching court. They are not protecting the safety of our children
They are not protecting the safety of our children, their actions will only ensure they are free to message other children online and freely walk to streets.
Online Group Dark Justice have told Police Hour “From what we have seen and been told the suspect was attacked due to the video been seen live on Facebook this is something that we and I’m sure the group involved do not condone what happened and we understand that feelings among members of the public run high but by attacking a suspect you turn him into the victim.
“And yes we agree the video should never of been live on facebook this is not a court room it is social media leave the punishment and the judgements up to the courts. We are sure the group(s) in question will be looking at there methods and making suitable changes after all we are in this to bring child abusers to justice not get people attacked.
“We would ask members of the public to not join in when we are conducting our work this can cause us issues and result in suspects becoming victims and we would like to state we were/are not affiliated with any other group and we are not responsible for there methods and we have respect for anyone who brings a child abuser to the attention of the police.”