R v Bevins  NZDC 7407
Published 03 October 2019
Sentencing — causing harm by posting digital communications — attempting to cause harm by posting a digital communication — video — YouTube —
Facebook — vigilante group — creep catchers — paedophiles — luring victims — Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015, s 22 — Crimes Act 1961, s 66 —
Sentencing Act 2002, ss 8, 84 & 85 — Police v Tamihana  NZDC 6749,  DCR 240 — Police v Forester  NZDC 16010 —
Brittin v Police  NZHC 2410,  2 NZLR 147 — Butler v Police  NZHC 2972 — Police v Carr  NZDC 15609 — R
v Millar  NZDC 16646 — R v Xie  2 NZLR 240 — R v O CA 258/05, 3 March 2006 — R v Williams CA91/00, 31 May 2000 — Hughes v R
 NZCA 388 — R v Mackwood CA197/95, 28 March 1996 — R v Bradley  NZLR 262 — Benbow v Police HC Christchurch AP 107/93, 2 July
1993 — R v Douglas  NZHC 2271 — R (SFO) v Robinson  NZHC 1673.
The defendant appeared for sentence in relation to five charges of causing harm by posting digital communications and one of attempting to cause harm by
posting a harmful digital communication. The defendant created fake identities on social media accounts, pretending to be underage. He then targeted victims he
believed to be paedophiles, messaging and coaxing them to meet in person. At the meet up the defendant would attempt to place the victim under citizen’s
arrest. The interactions were often accompanied by a physical altercation and verbal abuse from the defendant. The encounters were filmed, and the defendant
would post the videos to YouTube and other social media sites. There were six victims; all suffered harm from the offending, and one of them committed suicide.
The Judge compared the offending to case law and found it fell at the most serious end of the spectrum. For this reason, the two year maximum period of
imprisonment was not sufficient to address the offending. Charge 1, involving a victim with an intellectual disability and charge 2, where the victim committed
suicide, were each given a sentence of two years imprisonment to be served cumulatively (one after the other). The starting point was therefore four years
imprisonment. A three month discount was given for the defendant's personal circumstances and his youth also attracted a three month discount. 20 per cent was
given for his guilty plea, making the final sentence two years and eight months. The remaining four charges were to be served concurrently (at the same time).
Judgment Date: 17 April 2019.