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Alleged ‘Paedophile Hunter’ Appears In Court In Coleraine

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PICTURE : MARK JAMIESON

A Ballymena man accused of being a so-called ‘paedophile hunter’ has been ordered to desist from any role in such groups as part of his bail conditions after he appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Monday.

Mark O’Brien (30), of Millfield, is accused of false imprisonment of a male on January 31 this year.

He is also accused of assaulting the male and is also charged with attempting to intimidate the male from his home in Coleraine.
A police officer said he believed he could connect the accused to the charges.

Defence barrister Francis Rafferty said he had no questions for the officer.

A prosecutor asked for the case to be adjourned for eight weeks and for police bail to be made court bail.

District Judge Peter King released the defendant on his own bail of £500 until May with a number of conditions.
The conditions include not having any contact with the alleged injured party and he has to sign once a week at Ballymena Police Station.
The defendant is also to have no contact with a co-accused ‘George Keenan’.

O’Brien is not to use any online social media platforms ‘or any online dating applications or websites’.
He has also been ordered to ‘desist from any activity associated with paedophile hunting groups to include no role whatsoever in the identification or confrontation of those suspected of online sexual offences or have any contact directly or indirectly with any persons associated with paedophile hunting groups’.

Another bail condition is that is to ‘refrain from sharing any information directly or indirectly about any ongoing police investigation with any third party via any means. He is not to access any site containing public records, electoral roll, etc and to have no access to a mobile phone or communications device with a capability beyond voice calls and simple text messages’.

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