A PHOTOGRAPHER said people have a right to know who paedophiles are and where they live.
Andrew Stone, 48, spoke out after being acquitted at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court after being accused of harassing two men by taking photographs of them for a website that exposes convicted paedophiles.
The court heard Mr Stone, a freelance photographer for the past five years, went to the homes of two convicted offenders in Fareham and posed as a delivery man.
The prosecution’s case was that Mr Stone lured them out of their house to take a picture and shouted foul abuse at them.
After all charges were dismissed due to lack of evidence, Mr Stone told The News: ‘I believe the public have the right to know who is living near them in order that they can prevent their children being involved with these type of people. I have done a job. Children deserve to be safe.’
Earlier in the case, Mr Stone was accused of harassing Alistair Cook at his Fareham home, but this charge was dismissed by District Judge Anne Arnold.
It left Mr Stone facing one charge of harassment in relation to convicted paedophile Jason Fleet, who claimed he was targeted at his Fareham home.
The court heard Mr Fleet’s mother took a number of calls purporting to be from a courier who had a delivery for her son.
On April 10, Mr Fleet said he got a call saying the delivery vehicle was struggling to turn around and asked if he could go outside to get the delivery.
Mr Fleet told the court he walked down the pathway to the main road and could hear someone shouting his name and a ‘clicking’ sound.
He said: ‘I turned and looked back again to see that I was being photographed. I had a lot of abuse shouted at me.’
Mr Fleet added: ‘I did shout back.’
Mrs Fleet alleged Mr Stone then telephoned the house again to hurl abuse – a claim Mr Stone denied.
In Mr Stone’s account, he told the court he was commissioned by ukpaedos-exposed.com to take the photograph.
The photograph was sent to website administrators and then uploaded alongside a report about the conviction.
Mr Stone admitted he said he was a delivery man in the phone calls. ‘That’s the subterfuge I would use,’ he said.
‘It’s a public interest story, having already been previously reported in the print and online press, to encourage the person to come on to public property as photographing them on private property is against the law.’
Mr Stone, from Southampton, denied shouting abuse and said he made the earlier phone calls to make sure he would not take a photograph of an innocent person.
Judge Arnold said the evidence was ‘conflicting’.
She said Mr Fleet was clear that the harassment caused to him was specifically the publication of the photograph online.
She said: ‘I simply cannot, with the state of the evidence, be sure that this defendant pursued a course of conduct which has amounted to harassment of Jason Fleet.’
Website claims to give a voice to victims of abuse
THE website Andrew Stone took the pictures for is a database profiling more than 28,000 convicted child abusers and killers in the UK.
It uses reports of convictions from online and printed newspapers alongside pictures of offenders.
Mr Stone told the court that some newspaper reports were printed without photographs of the criminals and the purpose of the website was to expose the offender and let people know what they look like.
The website says it operates legally under the Data Protection Act 1998.
It claims it is ‘giving a voice back to the victims and survivors of child sexual abuse’.