The lawyer for alleged paedophile hunter Richard Warner has questioned whether the law is correct, as his client faced court for the first time.
Aussie ‘pedo hunter’ faces court. Picture: Simon CrossSource:Supplied
A self-proclaimed “paedophile hunter” from has had his case heard before an Adelaide court, with his lawyer saying he shouldn’t receive jail time for his actions.
Richard Paul Warner faced Adelaide Magistrates Court on Thursday on internet harassment charges relating to his YouTube channel called “Adelaide Pedo Hunter”.
On this channel, the 42-year-old would pose online as an underage boy and agree to meet up with men he chatted to online.
When they arrived at the meeting spot Warner would film the confrontations he had with the men and post the videos online.
Richard Paul Warner is seen outside the Magistrates Court in Adelaide. Picture: David Mariuz/AAPSource:AAP
In November, he pleaded guilty to one count of using the internet to “menace, harass or cause offence”, as part of a plea deal that saw his assault charge dropped.
Yesterday, federal prosecutors called for Warner to get jail time, saying vigilante action like this shouldn’t be encouraged as it “undermines” the role of the judiciary, according to the ABC.
“What the defendant did essentially was say to everyone ‘hey look, here’s a paedophile’ — a class of person that’s universally despised — ‘here’s what he looks like, here’s his full name’ and that’s what makes the defendant’s conduct menacing,” prosecutor Rachel Wang said.
But Warner’s lawyer, Michael Woods, said his client only wanted to catch out child sex offenders and present the evidence to police.
Warner’s lawyer asked for him to be spared jail. Picture: Simon CrossSource:Supplied
As his client was sexually abused as a child himself, Mr Woods said his intention was to purely to bring these men to justice.
“That’s what he does, he detains these men and calls the police — that’s not vigilante behaviour, that’s behaviour any citizen is entitled to take,” Mr Woods said.
“It would be an absolute travesty of justice if the person who catches the paedophile gets the same sort of sentence as the paedophile.”
The court heard that one of men Warner tricked later pleaded guilty to procuring a child for sexual activity, receiving a suspended sentence.
Warner dubbed himself the ‘Adelaide Pedo Hunter’ online.Source:Supplied
Another one of the men that Warner had posted a video of reportedly had faeces left in his letterbox, along with other damage to his property.
But Mr Woods claimed his client could not be held responsible for the actions of others, and all he wanted to do was “name and shame” the men.
The court heard that Warner’s YouTube channel had been inspired by British “paedophile hunters” who claimed to have “100 per cent conviction rates”.
Just days before he was charged, Warner reportedly told police officers he planned to published the videos online.
He claims they never advised him against it.
Warner will be sentenced next week.