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Supporters turn out at court appearance for B.C. couple, friend charged with hog-tying alleged sex predator

A Port Alberni couple and their friend, charged with assault for allegedly tackling and hog-tying a man accused of being a sexual predator, were met by dozens of supporters as they appeared in court Friday.

The trio carried out the amateur sting operation in April 2018 after allegedly learning that a 28-year-old man was intending to have sex with the couple’s 13-year-old daughter, which the mother said police failed to investigate.

After getting the man to their home, the couple and the friend allegedly pinned him to the floor, strung his hands and feet behind his back, and streamed the event live on Facebook while they waited for police, only to be arrested instead.

The trio, whose names can’t be released due to a publication ban intended to protect the identity of the daughter, was charged with assault causing bodily harm and unlawful confinement or imprisonment in October.

On Friday, the 33-year-old mother was handed a six-month conditional discharge, while her 38-year-old partner and the 36-year-old family friend were both given a conditional discharge with one year of probation. All three pleaded guilty to common assault.

The trio was given conditions for the discharges. None of them will see the incident appear on a criminal record as long as the conditions are followed.

Outside the courthouse, supporters of the trio held signs accusing the RCMP and Crown prosecutors of “failing children” while calling for tougher measures against alleged sexual predators.

Supporters of a couple and their friend, charged with assault for allegedly detaining a man accused of being a sexual predator, gather outside a courthouse in Port Alberni on Friday, Jan. 11.

Supporters of a couple and their friend, charged with assault for allegedly detaining a man accused of being a sexual predator, gather outside a courthouse in Port Alberni on Friday, Jan. 11.

Supporters of a couple and their friend, charged with assault for allegedly detaining a man accused of being a sexual predator, gather outside a courthouse in Port Alberni on Friday, Jan. 11.

“I’m outraged at the failure of the RCMP to act on the complaint from these parents,” Sam Brownlee said. “If the police won’t protect our children, someone has to.”

Another supporter put it more bluntly.

“I think the parents made a big mistake,” Ken Flach said. “They should have castrated [the alleged predator] at the time before they called police because I don’t think the charges would be any different if they had done that to what they are getting now.”

At the time of the incident in April, the young child’s mother said she had spent six weeks trying to get police to intervene after finding evidence that her daughter had been sent naked pictures and illicit messages.

RCMP said at the time that they had already been investigating the alleged child luring and would continue to do so.

“Sometimes, investigations take time and, unfortunately, people have to show a little patience with that. But when we do it, we want to do it right,” Cpl. Amelia Hayden of Port Alberni RCMP said.

When asked if she regretted taking matters into her own hands, the mother said she was just trying to protect her daughter.

“I don’t think I could’ve done anything else differently, only the police could’ve done something differently.”

—With files from Kristen Robinson, Jon Azpiri and John Hua

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