By Howard Crane
Published August 1, 2018
Filed under Ireland Society & Culture
Granted, this headline is a bit of a bait, but the issue is quite serious and would make for an unattractive headline.
I quite enjoy watching live feeds of “pedo-hunters” confronting men who thought they were meeting children in public places. I also appreciate the time put into the researching, decoying, and traveling, as well as the emotional and mental damage this work inflicts. However, the work of Child Protection Awareness has been worrisome lately in regards to some aspects of the law.
As CPA continues its path, the volunteers are coming more into contact with the Gardaí (police) with many of these exchanges being unfriendly and sour. This has caused our heroes to become angry with and suspicious of the Gardaí – and I predict that this will lead to the uncovering of corruption in the force. This is especially apparent in tonight’s broadcast where a paedophile (perhaps in tandem with some family members) had been grooming CPA and other decoys since January (2018) with no noticeable actions taken by Detectives at Tullamore Garda Station.
In the above video CPA confront the two brothers of their target outside of their home in Portlaoise. As per proper procedure, the Gardaí were called. Upon their arrival it was expected that they pull the man out of his house and immediately investigate him (much like what happens on their open-air public stings). Despite Tullamore Garda Station having been given evidence over the past 4 months, Portlaoise Gardaí weren’t informed of the damning information. At first CPA held this against the attending Garda they were speaking to, as if it was his problem or deficiency. This is where my first problem come up – CPA are riling up an angry online mob. The amount of insults in the comments section concerning this patient and well-spoken Garda was astonishing. The man was very respectfully explaining the due process of Law which didn’t allow him to simply bust down a citizen’s door and arrest him, because he wasn’t given the required evidence to necessitate doing so. Yet because this Garda didn’t breach this Republic’s Constitution by violating a private Irish home, he was somehow not doing his job correctly and was one of the worst people alive in the country. This is a dark path for a society to go down.
Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.
— Friedrich Nietzsche
Due process is important in our European societies. If we make exemptions for particular kinds of people, that will easily be abused by individuals and the government to breach all of our rights.
People need to separate the Garda from the Gardaí. Especially CPA as they act as role models for their Facebook followers. Many a Garda will be rude, evasive, and sometimes intimidating, but not all of them are like this. The Garda in the above video was not like this. There is a corruption and possibly a collusion problem in the Gardaí itself when evidence isn’t followed up on and passed to the relevant Garda station. This individual Garda could potentially be an ally within that station, but is less likely to be if he were to read what everyone was saying about him.
Another issue that needs pointing out was brought up by this Garda – such livestreams could cause a mistrial. Louise from CPA answered that potential jurors during selection could be asked if they saw the livestream or not. For one reason or another he decided not to argue the point, but I will. CPA videos/stings get anywhere between 50,000 and 360,000 views (in a country of 4.8 million people). Not to mention that many criminal cases don’t involve a jury, an individual juror doesn’t even need to see the video. Many cases fail because the defendant has been made into a national media phenomenon. As much as I love watching these stings out of some unknown morbid drive, I have to raise the alarm that these could become a complication in the future.