Ron Brierley sentencing: Rich lister gets 14 months' jail for possessing child abuse material

Ron Brierley has been jailed for 14 months at sentencing in a Sydney court, with a non-parole period of 7 months. 

The rich lister admitted to possesion child abuse material earlier in the year. 

Brierley was frail, with a walking stick and surrounded by lawyers as he arrived for court on Thursday morning (local time). He sat in a chair, huddled over as the sentence was handed down. 

The rich lister admitted he had an interest in soft pornography with an attraction and obsession to pre-pubescent girls. 

Brierley was flying to Fiji in 2019 when an anonymous tip off led police to stop him at Sydney’s International Airport. 

Ron Brierley.
Ron Brierley. Photo credit: Getty Images

Within his bags they found thousands of images of young girls stored on three USB devices. 

A search of his Sydney mansion uncovered even more - five USB devices on his dining room table and nine more in a hallway cabinet and in his bedroom. 

The 84-year-old  pleaded guilty to possession of more than 46,000 images - he downloaded the images online from a subscription service. The images were of children as young as 4 and as old as 20. 

Many were photographed in sexualised poses, wearing crop tops, singlets, bikinis and underwear. They were often posing in sexualised poses and sometimes photographed in a bedroom in front of a backdrop with a curtain. 

When interviewed by police Brilery said they were "... perfectly OK", that he looked at them for “recreation” and thought they "looked interesting".

One image was of a naked young girl aged between 9 and 11 years old naked on a bed. It was attached to an email sent to his business email. 

Also on the devices were "fantasy stories" detailing the sexual assault of both an 11 year old and 9 year old. Brierley said he had read them. 

When asked if they were for sexual purposes he said "no" but later admitted he had an "interest in soft pornography" and had an obsession and attraction to pre pubescent girls and used it to masterbate. 

The court heard he had likely started collecting the images several years ago, likely after 1995. 

Brierley pleaded guilty to three charges of possession of child sexual abuse material in April. 

While he waited to be sentenced, the Queen stripped him of his knighthood at the request of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. 

At the time Ardern 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." 

It's a fall from grace after being regarded as business royalty in the 1980s and 90s. 

The rich lister founded Brierley Investments, one of New Zealand's largest, most successful and glamorous companies of the 1980s.

He was knighted in 1988 for services to business and philanthropy.

Brierley joins a growing list of disgraced knights. 

Pedophile Rolf Harris was an Australian entertainer found guilty of sex attacks on girls as young as seven. 

Then there was movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe and Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.

Only two honours have been removed in New Zealand's history - Hugh Hamilton's for financial crimes and former doctor Morgan Fahey for rape.