With files from Jeremy Lye
The Surrey RCMP officer scooped up in a sting by the group Surrey Creep Catchers is next in court October 19.
Here’s an update on what happened on the weekend.
Surrey RCMP laid an information alleging luring a child by means of telecommunication, and breach of trust.
The accused was released by a justice of the peace and told to severely limit his use of the Internet, and stay away from children under the age of 16, and stay away from places where they gather.
Crown Counsel will now look at all the information and decide whether criminal charges will be laid.
The goal of the Creep Catchers is to expose sexual predators on social media.
Understanding the legal process
While we wait to hear whether or not charges will be laid, the officer most likely had his restrictions placed on him through an “undertaking to appear” which gives the Crown time to decide whether or not his case meets the charge approval standard.
In the meantime, questions are being raised over how long it’s taking for the Crown to approve those charges – and how likely they will approve them the longer it takes.
Many were expecting the charges to be laid Friday, but Vancouver criminal lawyer Paul Doroshenko says the fact that police are looking for evidence in computers, obtained by an unprofessional third party, may complicate getting everything together.
“They may be out getting warrants for them or maybe they’ve already seized them… We’re in the dark a little bit at this point, there are certain things that we do know but there’s aspects of the investigation that they may want to hold very close to their chest while they’re doing it.”
Doroshenko says the RCMP are in a no-win situation whichever way the Crown goes.
“They have the one danger where the finger may be pointed at them later on for being overly harsh, being on a witch hunt because they’re so angry”
“And then there’s the other angle that they may be viewed as giving some some sort of favouritism by trying the hide the behaviour of a police officer.”
Not the first time an officer has been caught by vigilante group
The group Creep Hunters in the Okanagan caught a Kamloops sheriff last month who they allege attempted to meet with a 14-year-old girl.
On Facebook, the group posted a video of a phone conversation between the officer in question and one of its female members, and another video of him driving away from the apparent sting.
The post also remarked that he had sent the fake 14-year-old nude photos of himself, as well as other sexually explicit details.
The Justice Ministry of B.C. would only confirm the sheriff is no longer a public service employee, but it’s unknown if he is facing criminal charges.