Ireland Vigilante group has scuppered Garda’s child grooming case

16:36  11 february  2018
16:36  11 february  2018 Source:   extra.ie

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A JUDGE has blasted a so-called “paedophile hunter” who posed online in a superhero cape after an alleged sex offender walked free from court. Paedophile hunter Mr Poole, 38, founded vigilante group Khalid, of Rhondda, south Wales, denied grooming and was cleared at Cardiff Crown Court.

JUSTICE MINISTER Frances Fitzgerald has faced calls for new legislation against online child grooming to ban vigilante groups from engaging in “sting” operations against paedophiles. For Jim Gamble, one major difficulty with vigilantism is the lack of “a suicide strategy.”

Sexual Assault © Provided by Associated Newspapers (Ireland) Limited, t/a dmg Media Ireland Sexual Assault A garda investigation into a ‘cut and dry’ case of child grooming has been compromised after a vigilante group shared allegations and images of the suspect on social media, the Extra.ie has learned.

The allegations were shared hundreds of thousands of times by vigilante groups here and in the UK, and among community groups and concerned parents who are unaware of the damage that can be done to criminal investigations.

In another twist in the case, a member of the vigilante group directly communicated with the suspect online, an action that may result in a prosecution of the vigilante involved.

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We can’t have people with their own vigilante groups going around. There’ s only one police force in Ireland and that’ s An Garda Síochána. Superintendent Gubbins was discussing the general phenomenon of vigilante groups and not commenting on any particular case .

Child grooming investigated after group confronts men in Drogheda. The actions of vigilante groups have been condemned by many, including those who work with victims of sex abuse. A Garda spokeswoman declined to comment on the matter, but three senior members expressed grave

Gardaí have repeatedly asked Facebook to take down the content, which it did, but every time it is taken down it is shared again.

The case involves a tradesman who allegedly tried to groom the 10-year-old daughter of a client online after he had finished work at her parents’ home.

Screenshots of the Facebook messages sent between the two show the man, aged 30, asking the child to get into bed with him.

The disturbing messages only came to light after the girl’s mother checked her daughter’s messages.

She angrily shared screenshots of the conversations, alongside images of the suspect. These have since been shared over and over again by vigilante groups.

  Vigilante group has scuppered Garda’s child grooming case © Provided by Associated Newspapers (Ireland) Limited, t/a dmg Media Ireland

The allegations were shared hundreds of thousands of times by vigilante groups here and in the UK

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A JUDGE has blasted a so-called "paedophile hunter" who posed online in a superhero cape after an alleged sex offender walked free from court. Paedophile hunter Mr Poole, 38, founded vigilante group Khalid, of Rhondda, south Wales, denied grooming and was cleared at Cardiff Crown Court.

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Investigating gardaí arrested the man in recent weeks, but detectives fear that due to the continuity of evidence being compromised, the Director of Public Prosecutions may not direct a charge.

Or, even if the suspect is charged, that his defence solicitor will argue his right to a fair trial has been be damaged because of the number of times the allegations have been shared online.

It is understood the man has since wiped his computer and phones of any incriminating evidence after being alerted by the vigilantes.

He is understood to have left his home after being confronted by the vigilante group and is now believed to be hiding out in the UK.

A source said: ‘This was a cut and dry case. The problem with these vigilante groups is they do not understand the law.

They may feel they are doing good in the world, but in reality their interference in this case could result in the suspect getting away scot free.’ In a further development, a member of the vigilante group, who claims to be have been acting as a decoy, communicated with the suspect online and they had conversations about kidnapping a child.

In the eyes of the law, the person from the vigilante group is as culpable in the case and could be charged with possession of child pornography.

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