A Current Affair (ACA) journalist Ben McCormack has been banned from accessing the internet and engaging with children under the age of 16 as part of strict bail conditions after he was charged with child pornography offences on Thursday.
The 42-year-old has been ordered away from schools and playgrounds and cannot use any social media even via a third party. He can only access the internet if it relates to work. McCormack has also been suspended from North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club where he helped train young surf life savers.
The 25-year veteran at Nine has also had to surrender his passport and must report to police twice a week. Interestingly, McCormack was driven away from the police station in a Channel Nine news vehicle on Thursday evening, however, Nine has stood him down from all duties.
McCormack’s arrest follows raids on his apartment and Nine’s Willoughby headquarters on Thursday morning where he had computers and his mobile phone seized.
Police have alleged that McCormack had been exchanging “lewd pictures” over the internet with a known paedophile for the past two years including “chat” about sex with minors.
Over the weekend News Corp newspapers said McCormack had sent pictures of soiled Speedos to a paedophile.
According to other news reports, McCormack was under the watch of Nine’s HR department for apparently airing an-Israeli agenda to a colleague with Jewish heritage.
The Daily Mail reported McCormack “was on a one-strike-and-you’re out arrangement” after he draped pictures of dead Palestinian children and images likening Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Adolf Hitler around his desk in 2014. The provocative gesture was in response to then-colleague, Caroline Marcus (who now works at Sky News), weekly column, which covered issues such as her Jewish heritage and the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Colleagues have described McCormack as an affable guy and dedicated to his job as a reporter. “One said he had clashed with other staff members from time to time in the office but was dedicated to the job and would often stay back late to ensure a story he was working on was the best it could be,” Fairfax Media has reported.
McCormack is on bail, to appear at Downing Centre Local Court on Monday May 1.