Ron Brierley 'missed the images' of child abuse, court hears

A Crown lawyer in Sydney says disgraced businessman Ron Brierley admitted he "missed the images" of child abuse when they were seized by police.

It was revealed earlier this year that Brierley was in possession of nearly 47,000 pictures depicting child abuse, spread across several devices, when he was arrested at Sydney Airport in 2019.

Court documents reveal the photos were of female children in various states of dress or undress, in sexualised poses.

He also possessed a video, which ran for almost 2 hours, focused on the breasts and genital areas of six young female children.

Brierley also had one ‘category one’ image, which depicted a naked child with her genitals exposed.

The 84-year-old entered three guilty pleas to charges in April this year and has since been stripped of his knighthood.

Due to current Covid-19 restrictions in New South Wales, Brierley appeared via video link, but sat off-camera.

Today, his lawyers argued he didn’t know he was in possession of illegal child abuse material.

They made a submission to Judge Huggett, for Brierley to receive a community corrections order.

It would mean that he would complete his sentence in a community setting, rather than in prison.

Brierley’s legal team argued that while the offending was serious, the images he was in possession of weren’t stored in a secretive manner and were mixed in with material that wasn’t illegal.

Tim Game SC, who is representing Brierley, said he has been diagnosed by a doctor as having an “identifiable disorder” and has a history of hoarding items like stamps.

Game also argued their client was suffering from the onset of dementia.

He said Brierley had a lack of understanding that the material was illegal, and his ‘affliction’ was a contributing factor.

The Crown pushed back on the claim that Brierley’s wasn’t aware the images were illegal, asking Judge Huggett to consider the number of files, and the young victims who were in them.

“This is not a victimless crime.”

Judge Huggett will now consider the submissions.

“To be frank, I don’t know what the result will be.”

Brierley will next appear in court on the 14th of October, where it's likely he'll be sentenced.