Ron Brierley sentenced to 14 months in prison

Ron Brierley has been sentenced to 14 months in prison for possessing child sexual abuse images.

The former knight and famed corporate raider in New Zealand and Australia was sentenced today in Sydney.

Brierley, 84, initially faced 17 charges before he pleaded guilty earlier this year to three counts of possessing child abuse material earlier this year after he was found with thousands of images on computer hard drives.

The other charges against Brierley were withdrawn.

Australian Border Force officers uncovered the images, mostly of children aged about 11 years old, in his carry-on luggage as he prepared to board a holiday flight to Fiji at Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport in December 2019.

Brierley, who voluntarily surrendered his knighthood for services to business after pleading guilty, had sought to serve his time in the community on a release order, however, the prosecution argued prison was necessary.

Brierley has been a towering figure in Australasian business. His rise began in New Zealand in the 1960s through identifying asset-rich companies that offered low returns to shareholders, staging raids and turning stagnant wealth into shareholder returns.

By the 1980s, Brierley had extended his business to Australia, and then on a global footing through the 1990s and onwards. In 1988, while chairman of the Bank of New Zealand, his contribution to business and philanthropy led to a knighthood.

He retired as a director from BIL in 2001 then from the chairman’s role at Guinness Peat Group in 2010, bowing out as a director in 2015. In June 2019, he retired as chairman of Mercantile Investments, a Sydney-based boutique with $80m invested.

– more to follow

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