Multi-millionaire Brierley goes to jail

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Disgraced multi-millionaire Ron Brierley is swapping his Sydney mansion for a prison cell after being jailed for possessing child abuse material.

The downfall of the former high-profile corporate raider is complete after he's already been stripped of his knighthood and his name erased from the many organisations he helped.

The 84-year-old was taken into custody on Thursday after Judge Sarah Huggett jailed him for at least seven months .

His lawyer later lodged a notice of intention to appeal the sentence.

Brierley, who has admitted having a life-long obsession with young girls, was arrested in December 2019 at Sydney airport about to fly to Fiji.

He pleaded guilty to three counts of possessing child abuse material found on devices in his airport luggage and at his home in Sydney's harbourside Point Piper.

Brierley once chaired one of Australia's most valuable public companies, was a board member of the Sydney Cricket Ground trust and was knighted in 1988 in his native New Zealand.

The NSW District Court judge said imprisonment was required, rejecting a defence submission that a community penalty would be appropriate.

Concluding a community corrections order would be "manifestly inadequate", she jailed him for 14 months with a non-parole period of seven months.

This would expire on May 13, 2022.

Brierley possessed more than 40,000 images, many being duplicates, of prepubescent girls in swimwear, underwear or other clothing, in sexually suggestive poses.

He also had two sexually explicit stories involving child victims and an image of a naked girl posing on a bed.

While the images were far from the most serious examples of child abuse material, the judge said they provided him with sexual gratification.

She noted the vast number of images, the many victims involved, the long-term possession of the material and his motivation being the sexual interest in girls.

She rejected his contention that he was never aware the images were against the law and "had been approved by various bodies".

"For decades he had been an intelligent and high functioning businessman," the judge said.

The multi-millionaire, who downloaded the images from publicly available websites, had described his interest as being "in very soft pornography".

After his arrest he said he had the images "because they looked interesting" and had viewed some the night before "for recreation".

"The fact remains the offender was in possession of child abuse material because of his longstanding obsession with young girls and such material provided sexual gratification."

She described his fall from grace as "radical".

The very successful businessman was of previous good character and had made a significant contribution to charitable and other community works.

He rose to prominence in the 1970s with his eponymous company Brierley Investments Ltd that started with little capital but developed into an Australian-New Zealand conglomerate with investments in firms around the world.

"I accept he has demonstrated he is contrite and remorseful and he has accepted responsibility and acknowledged the harm brought about by his offending," Judge Huggett said.

She took into account his advanced age and medical conditions including heart problems and dementia.

Brierley, who had large collection of many items including newspaper cuttings and stamps, had been diagnosed by one medical expert as having a hoarding disorder.

But the judge found this was not a mitigating factor for his possession of the vast number of images.

And while she also accepted he had a pedophilic disorder which explained his behaviour, he had done nothing to address the long-term issue.

Since his arrest, he had undergone treatment and now said "I am repulsed by the whole thing, I would not want to go there again".

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting