5.9k Share this
The government today accepted legal advice to suspend and not permanently expel Mr Ward.
Acting Premier Paul Toole said the government would move a motion that “the Member for Kiama be suspended from the service of the house until the verdict of the jury has been returned on the five criminal charges laid yesterday”.
The government is also seeking legal advice on whether it can “withhold” Mr Ward’s MP salary, which is close to $170,000 a year, while the case is before the courts.
“The government has sought advice and options to affect the withholding of a suspended member’s remuneration and all other entitlements,” Mr Toole said.
Mr Ward yesterday was charged with three counts of assault with an act of indecency and one count each of sexual intercourse without consent and common assault.
Police will allege Mr Ward indecently assaulted a 17-year-old boy at Meroo Meadow in February 2013 and sexually abused a 27-year-old man in Sydney in September 2015.
In a statement issued yesterday, Mr Ward defended the charges and proclaimed his innocence.
“I am innocent and I intend to prove it,” he wrote in the statement.
“I have instructed my lawyers to use every available procedural avenue to bring this matter to trial as quickly as possible.”
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, who is currently on paternity leave, said yesterday he would be seeking Mr Ward’s immediate resignation from parliament.
“Mr Ward is entitled to defend himself against the serious charges against him but he must do that as a private citizen,” Mr Perrottet said.
Mr Ward is due to appear at Port Kembla Local Court in May.