Sir Ron Brierley has pleaded guilty to possession of child sexual abuse material at a Sydney court hearing this morning.
Of the 17 charges faced, Brierley entered pleas of guilty to three charges. The other charges against Brierley were withdrawn.
“My client admits he is in possession of some of the images,” his lawyer told the Downing Centre Local Court, saying there was dispute over the actual number of images on Brierley’s devices.
The case against Brierley came after an anonymous tip to New South Wales police in Australia in August 2019. It led to Australian Border Force officers intercepting Brierley as he prepared to board a flight to Fiji from Sydney.
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A search carried out at the airport, and at his mansion in the exclusive Point Piper suburb, led to 17 charges of possession of child sexual abuse material. The material included images of children ranging in age from 2 years through to 15 years, according to the charging documents.
Brierley has been on bail since his arrest, with conditions allowing him to stroll nearby Double Bay and drive around Sydney’s eastern suburbs. The Herald recently identified that Brierley still appeared to have internet access with an email emerging from him sent in February 2020.
Brierley had earlier indicated through his lawyer that he would plead not guilty, but changed tack today.
He has enjoyed a towering role in Australasian business for decades. It was a rise that began in the 1960s as he built a business identifying and then buying into asset-rich companies that offered low return to shareholders.
By the 1980s, Brierley’s business had extended beyond New Zealand 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.
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