Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson told reporters that proposed changes to the law regarding what bait police can use to try and trap sexual predators must be approached with caution.
The recent high profile arrest of Karl Vignir Þorsteinsson, who on hidden camera admitted to sexually abusing scores of children over a period of decades, has brought greater attention to the finding, prosecution, and supervision of sex predators in Iceland. RÚV reports that changes to the law being proposed in that area could stray into a legal grey area.
Former MP Ágúst Ólafur Ágústsson, who leads a focus group researching the legal response to the sexual abuse of children in Iceland, has proposed among other things that police be permitted to bait sexual predators. For example, a police officer could enter a chatroom pretending to be a minor in the hopes of attracting one.
Reykjavik Metropolitan Police Commissioner Stefán Eiríksson supports the idea, telling a trade publication for lawyers that police need greater and more unconventional tools to conduct investigations. He also contends that research indicates that child sexual predators have a high rate of repeat offences.
Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson told reporters that the police can actually legally bait someone into committing a crime, provided there is a strong suspicion that a particular individual intends to break the law. He emphasised, however, that clear lines needed to be drawn.
“We cannot forget that everything about investigations that use baiting, wiretapping or what have you are incredibly sensitive in every way,” he said. “We have to view this from a human rights perspective as much as an investigative one.”
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