A judge wants to hear from a psychologist about the potential impacts prison could have on a Kamloops man busted by an online vigilante group that targets would-be sex predators.
Doug Fawcett, 51, pleaded guilty to using telecommunications to lure a child after he attempted to arrange a meeting with a person he thought was a 12-year-old girl.
The girl was actually a grown woman — a member of a Kelowna-based group called Creep Catchers, which sets up online profiles and engages in chat conversations with adults looking to meet children for sex.
Fawcett was one of them. Court heard he became “obsessed” with the fictitious young girl, telling her he hoped to wed her and start a family.
On Feb. 3, 2017, after more than a month of conversations with the person posing as the girl, Fawcett agreed to meet her at a downtown Kamloops coffee shop. When he showed up, he was confronted by Creep Catchers members, who filmed the meeting and posted video online.
Fawcett was described in court as a “low-functioning” individual. He is challenging the mandatory minimum six-month prison sentence on the grounds it would be cruel and unusual given his circumstances.
During hearings last week, court heard from a psychologist who described Fawcett as “psychologically naive and lacking insight.”
Kamloops provincial court Judge Stella Frame said she wants to hear from a psychologist who can speak on the impact incarceration could have on someone like Fawcett.
If Fawcett is successful in his bid to stay out of jail, Frame’s ruling would be the latest in a series of court decisions striking down tough-on-crime provisions put in place by Stephen Harper’s former Conservative government.
Following a hearing last May, the Supreme Court of Canada reserved its decision on mandatory minimum sentencing for online luring.
Lawyers are scheduled to return to court for Fawcett’s matter on April 1.
Fawcett remains free on bail.