TW: Sexual abuse
Western Australian MP James Hayward has been found guilty of child sexual abuse. He has been automatically removed from Parliament.
Hayward was found guilty on two charges of ‘Indecent Dealing with a child under the age of 13’. He had pleaded not guilty.
A key piece of evidence in the trial was a confessional email Hayward wrote to his wife.
However, Hayward said its contents were untrue and said he was in a “scattered” frame of mind when he wrote it.
Hayward now faces a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment. He will be sentenced in October.
Who is James Hayward?
Hayward became a Nationals MP in WA in 2021, but became an Independent when charges were brought against him six months later.
He was then suspended from WA Parliament in October last year but returned this year.
WA Opposition and Nationals leader Shane Love said “abuse in any form is unequivocally unacceptable”.
A process has begun to replace Hayward.
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