The rise of paedophile hunters: heroes or misguided amateurs?

So-called paedophile hunters have had notable successes in securing convictions of online predators, most recently in the case of former RTÉ presenter Kieran Creaven. But some experts fear that the actions of these amateur groups carry several risks

As the number of online stings involving so-called paedophile hunter groups grows, so does the concern about the effective outsourcing of such a sensitive part of the criminal justice system to a loose band of volunteers.

Confronted with the horror of what they did – what they’re about to be exposed for having done – so many just stand still; stunned; frozen. And for a time, that’s what Ioan Ovidiu does.

He’s been approached at a junction somewhere in Mulhuddart, in broad daylight on a sunny summer’s day. He’s dressed in a black and white shell-type tracksuit, with a pair of tinted sunglasses perched on his nose.

He’s there to meet ...