Adelaide ‘pedo hunter’ charged for breaching Evidence Act

By @chelean on
A closeup of the lock of a brick jail cell with iron bars and a key Reuters/File

An Adelaide man claiming to be a “paedophile hunter” has been arrested by South Australia police for his vigilante action. The 42-year-old man was charged with breaching the Evidence Act among others.

The unnamed man came to public attention by publishing videos of him performing citizen’s arrests online. He targeted alleged child sex offenders by posing as a minor boy on online chat. However, his methods were not approved by the police, who believed that the man was hindering police investigation.

Last week, the vigilante executed a citizen’s arrest of a middle-aged man, whom he accused of being a “filthy pedo,” according to the Advertiser. He recorded the arrest and posted the video online on Sunday. That was his second citizen’s arrest in the past week.

The man himself was arrested on Friday for one charge of aggravated assault because his alleged victim was over 60 years old; one count of publishing the identity of a person charged with sexual offence; and two counts of using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence. He has been granted police bail and is expected to appear in court in February.

Detective Superintendent Mark Wieszyk said the man’s arrest was a warning to others considering following similar actions. He said the self-professed paedophile hunter’s method was risky to all parties involved. It also obstructs police’s efforts in fighting crimes.

One of the houses seen on the man’s video was vandalised despite the alleged predator not living there. The incident puts the safety of the person actually living there at risk.

“It’s a serious concern. The behaviour could stimulate persons to offend against children as a result of the online engagement,” he said. “When evidence exists, people will take appropriate action to investigate and like criminal charges where appropriate. However, when evidence becomes legally tainted, it has no value to the wider community.”

Wieszyk said the whole idea behind the arrest is to advise the entire community to pass on any information or concerns about people to the police and allow the authorities to act on it. “Don’t take this on board yourself, don’t make contact with a view of making a citizen’s arrest. It’s risky to both parties.”

Neither of the alleged predators caught in the man’s online stings had yet been charged. Police are urging anyone with concerns about suspected child sex offenders to call Crime Stoppers at 1800 333 000.