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Wed, 13 May, 2020

Award-winning firefighter jailed over child porn

Award-winning firefighter jailed over child porn

A Country Fire Authority volunteer firefighter awarded medals for battling Victoria’s Black Saturday bushfires has been sentenced to six months’ jail over child pornography.

Andrew Harris, 47, admitted to possessing child pornography and child abuse material after police raided his Pakenham home in 2019.

Australian Federal Police was alerted after the former Metro Trains ticket inspector posted images and videos on Tumblr.

Investigators found 69 images and 170 videos on an iPad at Harris’ property, and two involved acts of sadism or bestiality.

The Victorian County Court heard that the device’s search history revealed terms such as “nude children”, “family nudity” and “how to adopt children from Thailand”. Harris also searched how to conceal online activity and how to send private messages.

Harris was an “avid viewer” who “repeatedly and persistently” sought child pornography and watched hours of video of children being abused, Judge Anne Hassan said on Tuesday.

“You watched children being abused for your own sexual gratification,” she said.

Harris volunteered with the CFA for 30 years and was awarded the Australian National Medal and National Emergency Medal for his work during Black Saturday fires in 2009. He resigned from his lieutenant role at the agency and was stood down from his Metro Trains job following his arrest.

He pleaded guilty to one count of possessing child pornography and two counts of possessing child abuse material.

Harris was sentenced to six months in jail and ordered to serve a two-year community corrections order.