A man accused of trying to arrange sex with a minor following a Surrey Creep Catchers sting won’t spend time in jail, after being given a one-year conditional sentence in court this week when he plead guilty to a lesser charge.
Kuljinder Singh Bhatti, formerly a Burnaby realtor, was charged with trying to lure a minor for a sexual purpose and making an arrangement with a person for a sexual offence involving a person under age 18 after an incident in 2017.
Bhatti plead guilty to a lesser charge of communicating to buy sex in Vancouver Provincial Court on Monday, Aug. 27.
In addition to his conditional sentence, Bhatti has also been ordered to submit a DNA sample and pay a $500 fine.
Surrey Creep Catchers president Ryan LaForge said he performed a “citizens arrest” on Bhatti on April 3, 2017, alleging Bhatti came to pay for sex with a made-up six-year-old outside the Tim Horton’s at Central City Shopping Centre, in the 10100-block of King George Boulevard.
In May, LaForge plead guilty to two counts of assualt, in connection to the April 3 sting involving Bhatti, and another on April 19 of that year.
LaForge will not serve any jail time, but was handed 12 months probation and was given a conditional sentence.
While LaForge’s convictions have led to him discontinuing such “citizens arrests,” he said they don’t deter him from continuing to conduct “stings,” which involve Creep Catchers representatives posing as children online, arranging to meet adults who think they’ve been communicating with a child and confronting them, while filming them.
Since Surrey Creep Catchers’ inception, Surrey RCMP have cautioned the public against such work.
“Police want to remind the public that vigilantism, no matter how well meaning, poses significant risks to the safety of all those involved,” Surrey RCMP Corporal Scotty Schumann said last year. “Using our highly trained investigators in a controlled environment is the best way to get dangerous offenders off our streets and ensure they are held accountable.”
He said police advise the public to go to www. cybertip.ca to report incidents of online sexual exploitation of children.
-With files from Tom Zytaruk