#childpredator | Ron Brierley sentenced to 14 months in jail over child-abuse images

Ron Brierley at an earlier court date in Sydney over charges of possession three charges of possession of child abuse material.
Ben Rushton/The Sydney Morning Herald

Ron Brierley at an earlier court date in Sydney over charges of possession three charges of possession of child abuse material.

Ron Brierley has been jailed for 14 months by a Sydney judge for the possession of thousands of images of pre-pubescent girls.

The 84-year-old former Knight Bachelor had pleaded guilty to three charges of possession of child-abuse material.

Judge Sarah Huggett said she could not consider a sentence less than jail.

His lawyer had said at the submissions hearing that his fall from grace had been radical, with his name removed from things such as cricket pavilions and schools, and he had lost his knighthood.

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Brierley had been diagnosed with a hoarding disorder which, along with the material he was caught with, included stamps and newspaper clippings.

He also outlined medical issues, severe coronary artery disease, deterioration in his mobility, along with vascular dementia.

Australian Border Force officials stopped Brierley from boarding a flight from Sydney to Fiji in December 2019 and found the cache of child sexual abuse material, along with more at his home.

Unsteady on his feet and leaning on a walking stick, Brierly sat behind his lawyer to listen to the judge give her decision on his sentencing.

Judge Huggett said he was stopped at an airport and had images on his devices. He told officials he thought some of the children were as young as 8 and the oldest about 20. He also had documents about a subscription service of girls.

He told them he found the images interesting, and he had looked at them the night before he was caught.

More images were found on his dining room table, on a device in a hallway table and in his bedroom at his home.

He denied there was a sexual element to them.

The judge said there were 46,794 images in all. Some were sexualised poses, with girls as young as 4 wearing underwear and swimwear. There were a large number of duplicated images.

There was also a story about the sexual abuse of an 11-year-old.

Brierley had admitted he had a lifelong attraction to pre-pubescent girls.

A doctor’s report before the court said he had a paedophilic disorder and a hoarding disorder.

Ron Brierley on his way to an earlier court hearing in Sydney.
Sydney Morning Herald

Ron Brierley on his way to an earlier court hearing in Sydney.

Judge Huggett said Brierley described himself as interested in very soft pornography.

The judge said a sentence of imprisonment was required. She did not accept that he did not know the images were illegal. She outlined his health difficulties but did not think they were such they should keep him out of prison.

Judge Huggett said there have been consequences, with his significant contributions “literally expunged”.

“As your counsel said your fall from grace was radical.”

Brierley had now said he had overcome his sexual interest in girls and was now repulsed by it.

The judge said he was at low risk of reoffending.

Brierley was born in Wellington and is a graduate of Island Bay School and Wellington College.

His company, Brierley Investments, was once New Zealand’s biggest listed company. It is estimated one in every 20 Kiwis owned shares in the corporate raider, and it amassed Brierley a wealth consistently estimated at well over $100 million.

Stop Demand Foundation founder Denise Ritchie said the sentence was fitting.

Ritchie said child sex predators like Brierley needed to feel the full force of the law.

“This is a demand-driven global trade. If there were no demand, there would be no supply.”

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