Taking the law into your own hands almost never works out the way it's intended - and more often than not it does more harm than good.
That’s the view of a long time criminal defence lawyer in London, Ont. commenting on a citizen-led sting operation to catch alleged pedophiles.
“Vigilantism usually hinders rather than helps the justice system,” says Gord Cudmore.
The videos appear to show a man posing as a 15-year-old boy on the dating app Grindr, arranging for sex with grown met.
They agree to meet at the local Walmart in Woodstock, Ont. and the target is caught unawares.
“It's taking the law into your own hands and it's taking it into untrained hands, and that's the problem,” adds Cudmore. “These things should be done by trained experts, which are what we call police.”
He also says the video producer may be subject to defamation suits should the so-called 'marks' in the videos choose to pursue the matter in court.
“Usually in vigilantism we forget about justice. We forget about any rights that anybody has, such as right to privacy, and we just barrel ahead and sort of put the punishment before the crime.”
One of the men in the videos can be seen wearing an Oxford County logo on his jacket.
Oxford County issued a statement saying, “The individual publicly identified as an Oxford County employee is no longer employed by the county.”
Woodstock police meanwhile are saying little about the case, other than to say there's an investigation.
“At this time it is an open investigation, so we are looking into all aspects of this video that was posted,” say Const. Shaylyn Jackson.
The man behind the videos was a no-show two days in a row for scheduled interviews with CTV News.
He has not publicly identified himself, but he did issue this statement on behalf of his production company:
“I decided to start doing this because we as a community deserve to know who is praying (sic) on our children. We have nothing but respect for our local police force however we also understand there are far too many online predators for them to possibly handle them all. The police are currently investigating these men. We have sent them all the information we acquired involving these predators. We are based out of Woodstock Ontario.”
However, Cudmore says, “He probably sees himself as a do-gooder saving society, ridding society of bad people…I'm not sure he's doing that.”