Ex-ABC host to plead guilty to child porn counts

Former ABC presenter Andrew Muirhead is to plead guilty in a long-running child pornography case, a court heard today.

Muirhead, 35, was charged in 2010 with using the internet for child pornography and possessing child-exploitation material.

The former host of the popular TV series The Collectors entered not guilty pleas, maintained through a series of appearances and preliminary hearings.

But the Tasmanian Supreme Court today heard his counsel, Kim Baumeler, agree that guilty pleas would be entered after a dispute was resolved over the number of images involved in the case.

Justice David Porter bailed Muirhead, saying the case was adjourned to 31 July "in the expectation that pleas of guilty will be entered on that date".

An earlier hearing last year was told that about 4000 images were found in an Apple iMac's newsgroup cache.

Ms Baumeler said the number of images remained at issue, but Crown prosecutor Maitland Lincoln said there was no possible discussion over the number.

Mr Lincoln said the matter of a plea had aroused some concern at recent hearings. Mr Justice Porter said he was reluctant to to force a plea-taking today.  "I prefer to avoid a fictitious plea," he said.

Dressed as usual in dark suit and tie for his appearance, Muirhead left the court without comment.

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