NSW MP Gareth Ward charged over historical sexual assaults

New South Wales MP Gareth Ward has been charged over historical sexual assaults, one allegedly involving a 17-year-old boy and the other against a 27-year-old man.

On Tuesday the former Liberal Minister was charged with thee counts of assault with an act of intimacy, one one count each of sexual intercourse without consent, and common assault.

Police will allege that the 40-year-old indecently assaulted a the 17 year-old-boy at Meroo Meadow in February 2013, and sexually abused the older man in Sydney two years later.

Ward was previously a Minister in the Berejiklian Government but resigned from his position and moved to the cross-bench when it was revealed he was the subject of an investigation.

Current NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet says the correct course of action for Ward now is to resign from parliament.

“While Mr Ward is entitled to the presumption of innocence, as any citizen is, the standards expected of an elected Member of Parliament are not compatible with the seriousness of the charges he is facing,” Perrottet said yesterday.

“Following discussion with the Acting Premier, I have therefore attempted to contact the Kiama MP to seek his resignation from the Parliament with immediate effect.”

“Should Mr Ward not resign, the Government will move a motion to remove him from the Parliament.” Perrottet said, taking a break from his own paternity leave to address the issue. The Premier also indicated he’d made moves to suspend Ward’s party membership.

Ward was granted conditional bail and will appear at Port Kembla Local Court on Wednesday May 18.

Today Acting Premier Paul Toole announced that rather than pushing for Ward to be removed from the parliament completely, instead they will be calling for him to be suspended while his trial is underway. The government said legal advice had advised that a complete expulsion from parliament may prejudice the trial.

Ward any resisted calls for his resignation and denied the charges, and said he looks forward to the opportunity to clear his name.

“While others have already attempted to prosecute my case in the media rather than the courts, out of respect for our system of justice, I will not be doing the same,” he said in a statement. “Accordingly, I will be making no further comment at this time.”

OIP Staff

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