Former Nine reporter Ben McCormack spared jail sentence over child pornography charges

By @chelean on
Ben McCormack screenshot from Nine Network's "A Current Affair"
Ben McCormack screenshot from Nine Network's "A Current Affair" Nine Network

Former “A Current Affair” reporter Ben McCormack has been spared jail at his sentencing on Wednesday. The self-professed "proud pedo" was charged with child pornography but has escaped prison sentence because there were no photos or videos involved in his case. Instead of jail, he was sentenced to a good behaviour bond for three years and fined $1,000.

McCormack, 43, was arrested in April after police found Skype communications between him and another man about his interest in children aged seven to 12. He used the name oz4skinboi, claiming to be 28 years old. He has since resigned from his job from the Nine Network.

In September, he pleaded guilty to two counts of using a carriage service to transmit, publish or promote child pornography. He would have spent a maximum of 15 years in prison for the charges.

However, Downing Centre District Court Judge Paul Conlon said on Wednesday that McCormack demonstrated “genuine contrition and remorse” following his arrest. The disgraced reporter had acknowledged his crime and sought professional help even before his arrest.

Conlon also cited the lack of videos or photos of children in this case. McCormack’s offences were at the lower end of the range of seriousness because he had not tried to groom young people for sex as well. He also has no prior convictions and his risk of reoffending was low.

“It is clear that his job has been his life. He will never again be able to work in the media,” the judge said, referring to McCormack’s previous job as a reporter on the “A Current Affair.” “Owing to the extensive and explosive media coverage because of who he is, he has suffered and will continue to suffer public humiliation. Owing to his mental fragility, he will continue to struggle with his total loss of reputation and public ridicule.”

McCormack, who extensively reported on convicted child sex offender Robert Hughes in 2011, was hospitalised in April after attempting suicide. He said in his 17-page suicide note that he had been fighting his demons since he was 11 years old. He had sought professional help for his paedophilic tendencies before he was arrested earlier this year.

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