'Creep Catchers less interested in stopping an offence in progress than they are in self-aggrandizement,' says judge in Kamloops case - InfoNews

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'Creep Catchers less interested in stopping an offence in progress than they are in self-aggrandizement,' says judge in Kamloops case

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
June 24, 2019 - 6:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - A Kamloops man with cognitive challenges was given a six-month conditional sentence for child luring in large part because of the role Creep Catchers played in his case.

Loyd Douglas George Fawcett pleaded guilty to one count of child luring in the aftermath of a February 2017 sting headed by Creep Catcher lead Chantelle Bradner.

Provincial Court Judge Stella Frame last week rejected the mandatory minimum jail sentence of one year, saying it was "grossly disproportionate" to the crime, which had no actual victim. Frame pointed out in her decision that the issue of moral blameworthiness was altered by the fact that Fawcett had been the focus of a vigilante group’s efforts.

“As I have said, the Creep Catchers induced a cognitively challenged person who was not setting out to commit an offence into committing an offence, preying upon his cognitive disabilities in the process,” Frame wrote.

“This reduces his moral blameworthiness along with the other factors I have mentioned. This is precisely why such vigilante organizations are dangerous to all citizens and interfere with the administration of justice.”

Fawcett had no history of pedophilia. He had an age-appropriate wife from whom he has separated but not divorced and the site on which he met  Bradner — who later posed as a 12-year-old — was an adult one. Her profile picture belonged to an adult, and her stated age was 19.

He later engaged in inappropriate texts, which Creep Catchers recorded and later posted as part of their “investigation" which was something else Frame took issue with.

In actions Frame said could be likened to obstruction of justice, Bradner informed the police on Feb. 3, 2017 that she had the text messages and video.

She said she would send those messages and video to the police the next day. It was not until Feb. 23, 2017 after she had posted the video and the text messages for some time that she forwarded the information to the police.

“It is very clear that the Creep Catchers are less interested in stopping an offence in progress than they are in self-aggrandizement,” Frame wrote.

“It is equally clear that the Creep Catchers are more interested in public shaming and the court of uninformed public opinion than they are in law enforcement, the rule of law, and the administration of justice – processes that have evolved over time through parliament and the courts to protect the victims, the rights of the accused, the public and the innocent.”

The danger, Frame said, is not only the harm that can come to a person through unproven accusations but the risk that this activity will generate more vigilante justice.

“Their poor conduct disclosed, well before charges were ever laid, Mr. Fawcett’s identification, the identity of his vehicle, sufficient evidence about his vehicle that his home address could be found, his phone number, and the location of his residence,” Frame wrote. “Such collateral consequences are relevant to the sentencing analysis.”

Frame also wrote that publicity itself was a consideration in her sentencing.

“There were nearly 2,000 views of these postings in the evidence filed on these proceedings,” Frame wrote. 

“In this case, the collateral consequences to Mr. Fawcett of posting the video, all his personal information, and the text messages are not measurable at this point. There is no indication to what extent the publicity negatively affected or will affect Mr. Fawcett.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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