Ron Brierley sentencing: Lawyer asks judge to consider home detention rather than prison for child sex abuse images

The lawyer of a frail Ron Brierley has asked a Sydney judge to consider home detention rather than prison. 

The 84-year-old appeared via AVL in a Sydney Court as lawyers submitted their views on what sentence would best fit his crime. 

In May, the Queen stripped Brierley of his knighthood at the request of the Prime Minister. It came in the wake of his guilty pleas to three charges relating to the possession of child sex abuse material.

Brierley's lawyer said of the more than 46,000 photographs found in his possession, most were images of young girls aged 11 to 12.

"There are some that are much younger," he said. "None of them are undressed, none of them are engaged in sexual acts." 

However, the Crown says one image included a young girl showing her genitals. Brierley had paid for the images from an online subscription service.

The successful businessman was arrested at Sydney International Airport in 2019. An anonymous tip-off led the Australian Border Force and police to search his bag, finding USBs full of the photographs. A search of his Sydney house uncovered more USB devices with thousands more similar photos.

His lawyer argued that a large number were duplicates and that Brierley is a "shocking hoarder" who also collects stamps and newspaper clippings.  

The rich-lister was considered business royalty in the 1980s and 1990s. He founded Brierley Investments, one of New Zealand's largest, most successful and glamorous companies.

He was knighted in 1988 for services to business and philanthropy

At the time Ardern asked the Queen to strip him of his knighthood, she said: "When someone is found guilty of possessing such horrendous images, then it is only right that there are significant consequences for that, because as a country we have to reject anyone that thinks that is OK." 

His lawyer asked the judge to take into account his failing health. 

"You're sentencing a man who is 84, and I'm not exaggerating is in very frail health." 

The court plans to sentence Brierley in October.