New Zealand Herald wrote:
Sir Ron Brierley's latest court hearing delayed as child abuse image charges grow to 17
NZ Herald. By: Liam Mendes. 4 Feb, 2021 08:52 AM.
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/sir-ron-brierleys-latest-court ... HATHETH4E/
Sir Ron Brierley out for a stroll in Sydney's Double Bay in December 2020. Photo / Liam Mendes
Business tycoon Sir Ron Brierley now faces 17 charges relating to alleged possession of child abuse material, according to details revealed before the latest court hearing.
At Sydney's Downing Street Local Court this morning, the case against Brierley was adjourned for another eight weeks.
The delay followed an earlier request to allow police more time to examine more than 600,000 images, video and text files seized from Brierley.
At the time, the court allowed the delay while Brierley's lawyer argued that police should examine a sample of the files - rather than all the files - to press the case.
This time, the delay was linked to the case officer from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) taking long-service leave.
The delay brought frustration in court today, with chief magistrate Judge Graeme Henson saying: "The court is being held hostage over the internal considerations of the DPP. Justice delayed is justice denied."
It was a delay described as "disappointing" by Brierley's lawyer, Lisa-Claire Hutchinson, who said it was "some concern to the accused" that the case had not progressed further and now was "without a case officer".
An examination of the court file of the case by the Herald today shows there are now 17 charges against Brierley. It's an increase on the 14 charges on the file in November, which itself was an increase on the original six charges filed against Brierley after his arrest in December 2019.
The latest charges to be filed against Brierley specifically reference the number of child abuse images allegedly found on individual devices. One charge accuses Brierley of possessing a single image found on a storage device. Two other charges alleged Brierley possessed "child abuse material being 4146 computer images" and "child abuse material being 8131 computer images" on separate devices.
Brierley was a giant of Australasian business for decades. He rose to prominence in New Zealand during the 1960s with a corporate raider approach that reshaped the modern business landscape and changed forever the national perception of wealth.
Shares in Brierley Investments were owned by one in 20 New Zealanders in the 1980s after a decade of success picking takeover targets rich in assets but poor in shareholder returns.
His ambition quickly grew beyond New Zealand and he split his time between the country of his birth and Australia, moving to exclusive Pt Piper and becoming feted among the elite new generation of wheelers and dealers who disrupted traditional business practice.
Brierley was knighted in 1988 while chairman of the Bank of New Zealand, acknowledging his business achievements and his philanthropic involvement in the community. Cricket, particularly, had been a long-time passion of Brierley and a sport into which he had poured money and support.
At one stage, Brierley Investments was among the largest - and possibly the largest - companies in New Zealand. In Australia, his corporate raider-style approach led to the transformation of companies, such as Woolworths, now a multibillion-dollar chain store.
Knowledge of Brierley's personal life is thin, with cricket and stamp collecting at its centre.
Sir Ron Brierley's Sydney mansion (centre, with pool) on the waterfront at exclusive Point Piper. Photo / Liam Mendes
His arrest in December 2019 came as he prepared to board a flight to Fiji from Sydney.
Australian Border Force officers stopped Brierley after an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers. A search of his laptop and electronic storage devices allegedly recovered 200,000 images and 500 videos depicting child abuse. The content included written stories about abuse of children.
Brierley has been on bail since his arrest, living at his waterfront mansion Wunulla, on Wunulla Rd, the centre of a community of multimillion-dollar mansions and apartments looking out onto Sydney harbour.
His bail conditions are sufficiently relaxed as to allow him to stroll nearby Double Bay and drive around Sydney's eastern suburbs. He was prohibited from international travel and required to surrender his passport.
No formal plea has yet been entered, but Brierley has indicated through his lawyer that he will plead not guilty.
Court documents said the material allegedly showed "young girls aged between approximately 2 years to 15 years in sexually suggestive poses".
At one stage, the prosecution told the court 20 electronic devices had been seized
and forensic experts had sifted through more than 680,000 images
to look for child abuse material after his arrest.
Sir Ron Brierley (second from right) during a cricketing visit to Windsor Castle in 2015. Photo / Supplied
Last year, Brierley sold a three-bedroom apartment with floor-to-ceiling windows and sweeping views of Sydney's harbour. The apartment, which he bought for $1.5m in 2014, sold for $4.215m.