Belfast Telegraph

Paedophile hunter Keenan bailed despite ignoring phone and internet ban

The court heard that Keenan acted as the leader of online paedophile hunting group 'Silent Justice'

A so-called paedophile hunter acted as both decoy and leader in allegedly targeting up to seven suspected sex offenders, the High Court heard today.

Prosecutors claimed Belfast man George Keenan played a central role in co-ordinating the activities of a group called Silent Justice.

Details emerged as the 34-year was re-released on bail but banned from using any type of mobile phone.

Keenan, of Glenwood Court in the Dunmurry area of the city, had previously been remanded back into custody after flouting a prohibition on accessing social media platforms.

He breached the terms within 24 hours of getting out of prison last week by sending a WhatsApp message to his ex-partner.

As he mounted a fresh bail application a judge was told about the background to his alleged offending.

Crown lawyer Fiona O'Kane said Keenan is accused of false imprisonment, assault, attempted intimidation and withholding information between September 2017 and January 2018.

"There are 15 offences relating to seven different individuals," she contended.

Referring to the alleged paedophile-hunting activities, Mrs O'Kane continued "He's acted as both decoy and leader of an online group Silent Justice, and he has associations with a number of other groups."

She claimed Keenan used the internet and dating apps to identify and target individuals, relying on mobile devices to co-ordinate with like-minded individuals about confronting alleged paedophiles.

The defendant is separately accused of disorderly behaviour, obstruction and trying to menace an investigative reporter out of broadcasting a television interview during an encounter in south Belfast on February 6.

BBC reporter Kevin Magee was said to have been confronted by a number of people at a coffee shop on Botanic Avenue while making a news report about the self-styled groups operating in Northern Ireland.

"This applicant was front and centre in relation to that," Mrs O'Kane argued.

Opposing bail, she claimed Keenan has ignored multiple police warnings to stop his behaviour.

"These (paedophile-hunting) operations took place throughout Northern Ireland," counsel told the court.

"This applicant, on the police case, is literally someone who feels he's above and beyond the law because of how he has behaved in the past."

According to a defence barrister Keenan had messaged his ex-partner about their children, but accepted he shouldn't have used WhatsApp.

"He just wants to get back to normal family life; the activities he's been involved in historically he's not interested in any more," the lawyer added.

Granting bail to Keenan on amended terms, Sir Malachy Higgins ordered: "He's not to have access to or use a mobile phone of any type, nor is he to have access to or use any computer.

"If there's any breach of those conditions it will be brought back here."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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