SYDNEY, April 1 (Reuters) - Renowned former corporate raider
Sir Ron Brierley pleaded guilty to possession of child
pornography in an Australian court on Thursday, his lawyer said.
The 83-year-old New Zealand-born businessman is best known
for waging high stakes battles for control over some of
Australasia's most recognisable companies, including Air New
Zealand, supermarket chain Woolworths and energy company AGL
Energy, in his decades-long career.
Brierley pleaded guilty to three charges of possessing child
abuse material on Thursday in Sydney's Downing Centre Local
Court, Brierley's solicitor Penny Musgrave told Reuters by
There is disagreement over how much child pornography
material he possessed, she said.
Brierley, who was knighted for services to business
management in 1988, was arrested at Sydney Airport in Dec. 2019.
Police at the time said child pornography was found on his
laptop and hard drives during a luggage search.
Famed for his aggressive shareholder activism, Brierley began
his corporate career in 1961, starting his own investment
company in his native New Zealand.
By the 1980s, his company was the largest on the New Zealand
stock exchange by market capitalisation, before he turned his
attention on Australia. He remained active in the corporate
world until his retirement in 2019.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has asked for the
process to strip Brierley of his knighthood to commence, a
spokesperson told Reuters on Thursday.
Brierley, who has been bailed to his Sydney home, is
scheduled to return to court later this month. The offences
carry a maximum prison term of 10 years, Australian media
(Reporting by Colin Packham, Jonathan Barrett and Praveen
Menon; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)