New Zealand mogul gives up knighthood over child sex abuse images | News | DW | 04.05.2021

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New Zealand mogul gives up knighthood over child sex abuse images

A New Zealand businessman has given up his "Sir" title after admitting possession of images of child sexual abuse. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had intervened to make Ron Brierley surrender the knighthood.

Ron Brierley leaves the Downing Centre District Court in Sydney

Brierley carried out a series of aggressive takeovers and was knighted for his services to business management

The New Zealand businessman Ron Brierley relinquished his knighthood after he admitted to possessing images of child sexual abuse, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's office said on Tuesday.

Brierley, one of Australasia's most feared corporate raiders in the 1980s, was knighted for services to business management in 1988.

Detained after luggage search

The 83-year-old wrote to Britain's Queen Elizabeth II to surrender his knighthood, Ardern's office said.

"Ron Brierley may no longer use the title 'sir' and he has been asked to return his insignia," a spokesman said in a statement.

Brierley was caught with some images on his laptop during a luggage search at Sydney International Airport in 2019. Authorities later found more at his home.

The New Zealand premier said Brierley had been found to have more than 1,000 images showing children being sexually abused.

Ardern had intervened last month to strip Sydney-based Brierley of the honor if Brierley didn't relinquish it first.

"I think it's a sad day for the children of New Zealand and, indeed, the world, when someone is found guilty of possessing such horrendous images," Ardern told reporters. "It is only right that there are significant consequences for that because as a country, we have to reject anyone that thinks that is okay.''

When he is sentenced, Brierley could face up to 10 years in prison.

The businessman executed a string of aggressive business maneuvers in the 1970s and 1980s, although his profile faded after the 1987 stock market crash.

rc/msh (AP, AFP, Reuters)