Domestic violence charges dropped against state MP
Prosecutors have dropped seven charges for breaching family violence restraining orders against newly sworn-in West Australian MP Ben Dawkins after he changed his plea from guilty to not guilty.
The 51-year-old, who was preparing to fight the seven charges at trial, will be sentenced for a further 35 breaches next month.
Dawkins previously pleaded guilty to and was convicted for all 42 charges before successfully arguing on May 8 he should be permitted to change his plea for seven of the breaches.
The independent MP, who was last month expelled by the Labor Party, was upbeat as he exited the Magistrates Court in Perth on Friday, telling reporters justice had prevailed.
"It's good to have those seven done," he said.
"It was obvious at least seven, if not the majority of them, are completely trivial."
Dawkins told the court he would be seeking $4900 in costs over the seven charges that were formally dismissed.
He also raised concerns to the court about being expelled from the WA parliament "if for some bizarre reason (he) was jailed" over the remaining 35 breaches.
"There's a lot at stake for me," he said during the hearing that was adjourned twice on Friday while police prosecutors tried to work out if they would continue with the seven charges,
WA Labor last month expelled the already suspended Dawkins from the party over the criminal charges but he remains in the parliament on the crossbench.
Dawkins, who was sworn into parliament in March, replaced Labor veteran Alannah MacTiernan when she retired.
He is scheduled to reappear for sentencing in the Magistrates Court in Fremantle on June 6 for 35 charges of breaching the family violence restraining order.