After being arrested and convictied on the grounds of pedophillia, Mark Sutherland attempted to appeal the decision, arguing his right to a private life and correspondence.
Sutherland was found guilty when he unknowingly communicated with an “anti-grooming” activist group, Groom Resisters Scotland, in disguise as a 13-year-old boy on dating app, Grindr. They arranged to meet up in Glasgow but, upon arrival, Sunderland was detained by the activists who called the police, handing over all evidence.
Citing Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), Sutherland argued his privacy had been breached. However, on July 14th 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that the actions of Groom Resisters Scotland and other groups like them do not violate rights.
DS Martin MacLean, Police Scotland’s head of child protection, did warn against revealing the identity of suspected perpetrators online, however, as this poses a threat to “the safety of individuals, their families and the wider public”.
Delivering the ruling, Lord Sales said “The interests of children have priority over any interest a paedophile could have in being allowed to engage in criminal conduct”.
Sutherland had no “reasonable expectation of privacy” because he believed he was communicating with a child and a child could tell an adult. Additionally, authorities have a “special responsibility to protect children against sexual exploitation by adults,” overriding the right to privacy for such “reprehensible” actions.