Suspect cleared of ‘grooming’ because teenager was a police officer

A 38-year-old suspected paedophile has been cleared of making an appointment for sex with a 13-year-old boy via the internet because the child was in fact a police officer posing as a teenager.

Judges at The Hague appeal court said the man should not be convicted of grooming a child for sex over the internet because he had made an appointment with a grown man not a child.

Making an appointment for sex with someone over the age of 16 is never a criminal offence, even if the suspect thinks he is dealing with a juvenile, the court said. In this sense, the adult’s intentions are not relevant, the court said in a statement.

The public prosecution department took the case to appeal after a lower court also ruled in favour of the suspect. The department can now appeal to the High Court.

Commentators said the verdict renders the use of adult decoys in paedophilia investigations useless because they can never lead to a conviction.

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