Mark Stephen Heers

Posted: November 14, 2012 by Serendipity in Location, NSW, Victoria
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Qantas passenger viewed child porn in airport lounge

Kate Hagan
May 19, 2008 – 9:46AM

Qantas has defended the adequacy of its Internet filters after a man accessed child pornography in its Melbourne Airport lounge.

Mark Stephen Heers, 45, of St Leonards, NSW, pleaded guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday to three counts of using the Internet to access child pornography, including on a public computer at the Qantas Club last September.

Heers was arrested after a fellow passenger saw him looking at pornographic images on the computer and alerted staff, who notified the Australian Federal Police.

Prosecutor Jan McAlpine told the court Heers viewed 76 child pornography files over a 40-minute period in the Qantas lounge. She said some of the images were of children as young as six years.

A spokesman for Qantas, Jo Aston, said the airline had always had “a string of access restrictions in place”, and was committed to “continually monitoring and enhancing” its filters.

Ms McAlpine said police found hundreds of pornographic images and a video, many of which were downloaded from a Russian website, on a laptop and home computer seized from Heers’ home.

Heers initially told police the inappropriate material had “popped up” on the screen while he was viewing other websites in the Qantas lounge, but later admitted downloading similar material to the other computers.

Greg Thomas, for Heers, said his client considered child pornography “abhorrent” and was “confused” about why he had viewed the websites.

He said Heers, who had since undergone counselling, lost his job as a result of the offences, which occurred over a four-month period when he was under enormous pressure at work.

Magistrate Belinda Wallington said viewing images of young children in various sexually suggestive poses was a very serious offence. She convicted and sentenced Heers to a 12-month community based order.


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