Judge Peter Blair halted the case against Isaac Slusalarczyk, 22, after hearing how the vigilante known as Danny Catcher, posed online as a 14-year-old girl
A judge threw out a child grooming case after questions over whether the suspect had been entrapped by a paedophile hunter.
Judge Peter Blair halted the case against Isaac Slusalarczyk, 22, after hearing how the vigilante known as Danny Catcher, posed online as a 14-year-old girl.
Mr Catcher called himself ‘Louise’ and used a picture of his now ex-girlfriend. In their exchanges he sent Mr Slusalarczyk a message saying: ‘I want to lose my [virginity].’
Mr Slusalarczyk, of Warmley, South Gloucestershire, was arrested after being confronted by the paedophile hunter on July 17 last year in Bath city centre.
He went on trial at Bristol Crown Court accused of a single charge of attempting to meet a child following grooming.
But Judge Blair, the Recorder of Bristol, stayed the hearing after listening to representations from defence barrister Brendon Moorhouse. He discharged the jury and allowed the Crown Prosecution Service 24 hours to consider an appeal against his ruling – which it decided against.
In his ruling Judge Blair said some jurors had asked questions such as ‘Is entrapment a crime?’, ‘Who is doing the grooming?’ and ‘What is the legal definition of entrapment?’.
He said: ‘In the interaction between Louise and the defendant it was [Mr Catcher] who initiated sexual discussion in the form of ‘I want to lose my v’.
‘[Mr Catcher] conceded he probably shouldn’t have done that. The police can’t do that sort of thing.’
He told the jury he ought to intervene if he considered that misconduct by the paedophile hunter was such that it would be wrong to allow the prosecution to continue.
Judge Blair added that Mr Slusalarczyk’s computer equipment was analysed and nothing improper found. Mr Slusalarczyk told police that he had condoms with him to meet a sexual partner in Cardiff – something police did not check.
The court heard Mr Catcher has been asked by police to stop his paedophile-hunting activities.
But last night he insisted: ‘I am astounded to hear that the CPS is not appealing the case against Isaac Slusalarczyk being thrown out by the judge.
‘Regardless of who initiated the sexual conversation, Mr Slusalarczyk continued it and then attempted to meet the “child” in Bath.
‘I have since changed how I operate and have a number of success cases behind me.’