Former NZ corporate raider jailed for 14 months for possessing child pornography

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Ron Brierley, the New Zealand-born former corporate raider who shot to fame by launching high-profile takeovers through the 1980s, was sentenced to 14 months in an Australian prison on Thursday after pleading guilty to child pornography offences.

Brierley, 84, had bail revoked and was taken into custody after a sentencing hearing at Sydney District Court, to remain in prison until Dec. 13, 2022, according to a court filing reviewed by Reuters.

He was however eligible to apply for parole after seven months, meaning he may be entitled to leave prison in May 2022, the filing said.

Brierley's sentence would have been longer but the judge, Sarah Huggett, cut it by quarter because of his guilty plea, the filing added.

The former businessman's lawyer, Penny Musgrave, told Reuters by telephone that representatives for Brierley had filed a notice of intention to appeal against the sentence, but declined to comment further.

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.

He was charged with six counts of possessing child abuse material, and pleaded guilty to three counts earlier this year.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern asked for the process to strip Brierley of his knighthood to begin following the plea, but she said later that he had offered to forfeit the knighthood instead.

Known 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 to Australia. He remained active in the corporate world until his retirement in 2019.

(Reporting by Byron Kaye)

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