It was the day a Master of the Universe crashed to earth.
Whatever the outcome of the charges faced by Sir Ron Brierley in a Sydney courtroom - and his lawyer has indicated he will plead not guilty - the accusation they stem from possession of child pornography will carry an almost inescapable ignominy.
Brierley has occupied a place in New Zealand folklore for decades, a titan of the business world who created wealth in ways unfamiliar to the New Zealand he grew up in.
Born in 1937, the corporate raider is now 82. His clear presence in the New Zealand business world dates from 1961 when he founded Brierley Investments Ltd (BIL) through to last year, when he resigned as chairman of Mercantile Investment Co.
It was a business career that saw Brierley compared to Warren Buffett, considered one of the world's most successful investors. BIL's initial prospectus forecast its intent to take over publicly-listed companies "with a view to ultimate participation in management and the re-organisation and improvement of their finances".
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"This will apply particularly to 'dead' companies which have considerable assets but low earning capacity due to poor management," it read, according to Herald columnist Brian Gaynor.
With Brierley at the helm, "surplus assets" would be sold and the money re-invested.
And so, he became a hungry shark in a bountiful hunting ground, the terror of boards and a boon to Kiwi shareholders, particularly as New Zealand entered the 1980s and embraced an open market world view.
Brierley's ambition and success saw that hunting ground extend across the Tasman, and around the world. Even as new generations emerged and he slipped - comparatively - down Rich List rankings, his estimated $220 million fortune is evidence of a Titan who came before the Olympians, an earlier generation in New Zealand's pantheon of business gods.
It was to this he said goodbye last year, stepping away from a business world he had inhabited for 58 years.
"Due to age and health issues, I can no longer give the total commitment to the company which it requires and which shareholders deserve," he said in June.
Unknown to Brierley, he became of intense interest to police just two months later when an investigation began following an anonymous tip-off, apparently from a member of the public.
On December 17, as Brierley prepared to board a flight for Fiji at Sydney International Airport, he was intercepted by Australian Border Force officials. His hand luggage was searched, including his laptop and two electronic storage devices.
Brierley was then taken to Mascot police station and it was later confirmed by police to Australian media the tycoon had been charged with possessing a "large amount of child abuse material" on his laptop and electronic storage devices.
Police also obtained a warrant to search his Wunulla Rd home in Sydney's exclusive Point Piper, where Brierley would be bailed until his first court appearance this week.
The shock of the arrest reverberated through Australasia's business community. Sir Selwyn Cushing, his one-time deputy, told Radio NZ he was "staggered". "Never did I see anything in the [way of] sexual deviancy, nothing that I could take umbrage at him."
Questions were asked of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as to whether he stood to lose his knighthood, granted in 1988 for "services to business management and the community".
Police in New Zealand will not say if they are involved in the case. A spokeswoman said: "We will not discuss matters relating to specific individuals. However in general, NZ Police works closely with our international partners on investigations as necessary."
For Brierley, the retreat behind the walls of his Point Piper mansion turned his home into a refuge. When the Herald visited on the eve of the first court hearing today, a female voice said: "He's not home, sorry." Five minutes later, a ruddy-faced Brierley peered outside his front gate.
"Sorry, sorry, no," he said in response to questions, retreating inside. He was out again a short while later, leaning on a walking cane for support, to be escorted into a black Audi A8 and whisked away into Sydney's wild weather.
Brierley had even less to say the following morning during his time at the Downing Centre Local Court. He arrived shortly after 9am for the 9.30am hearing. There was his name on the court list - no honorific, simply "Ronald Arthur Brierley".
In a navy-blue suit and light-blue business shirt - no tie - Brierley sat for 20 minutes in the waiting area outside the courtroom until it was opened for the day's business to begin. Then, with walking cane in hand, Brierley made his way into courtroom 4.4.
It was a quick-fire hearing from the moment the court called the case, the first on the list for the day. Barrister Penny Musgrave, representing Brierley, told the court her client would plead not guilty. It's not a formal plea for the court record, but an indication the old warrior intended to fight.
Brierley sat in the public area at the back of the court, head bowed forward and to one side. He showed little sign of following the proceedings, which moved quickly to procedural issues over bail and the next hearing date.
It seemed over almost before it had begun. Bail would be continued at Point Piper and Brierley would be excused attending court on April 2, when next the case will be called.
He sat and waited inside the court before Musgrave was ready to escort him out of the building and through the waiting media pack. Again, no comment - no answer to the charges that will be given detail and life through the court process.
Already those details are emerging. Court documents show Brierley to be facing six charges relating to possession of child abuse material. They break down into charges of possessing photographs of girls aged 2-15 in sexually suggestive poses, videos of girls aged 2-15 in sexually suggestive poses and written documents containing typed stories that spoke of the rape of children.
Brierley rounded the corner on which the court building sits, opposite Hyde Park, and walked slowly down Elizabeth St to a waiting black Audi A8. With the door closed, dark tinted windows kept the world at bay.
By day's end, Brierley is back at Point Piper, his court-approved bail address, behind high, ivy-clad walls.
And there he waits for his day in court.