WA MP convicted of child abuse disqualified after trial

Aaron Bunch/AAP PHOTOS

An independent MP convicted of child sexual abuse has been formally disqualified from Western Australia's parliament and his seat vacated.

James Dorrin Hayward, 53, was found guilty on Monday of directing an eight-year-old girl to indecently touch him on two occasions.

The former Nationals upper house member is facing a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.

Under WA legislation, an MP is disqualified from the parliament if they've been convicted of an offence with a penalty of more than five years imprisonment.

"Accordingly, I advise that James Hayward is disqualified from membership of the Legislative Council," upper house president Alanna Clohesy told the chamber on Tuesday.

Hayward was elected to parliament in 2021 as a member of the WA Nationals representing the South West region.

The former pastor and television producer resigned from the party after the charges were laid later that year but remained in his seat as an independent.

Under parliamentary rules, Ms Clohesy will now write to the WA governor advising that a vacancy has occurred in the Legislative Council.

The electoral commissioner will then recount the 2021 votes for the seat and advise the governor and president of the outcome.

Louise Kingston, who ran second on the WA Nationals' South West ticket at the 2021 election, has confirmed her intention to fill the vacancy.

A motion was also passed revoking all of Hayward's rights and privileges as a former member of parliament.

Premier Roger Cook earlier said the District Court decision would be respected and thanked the victim for speaking out and "standing strong".

"These are never easy issues," he told reporters.

Hayward stood trial on four counts of indecently dealing with a child under 13 but was acquitted of two counts by a jury after a six-day trial.

He was remanded in custody for sentencing on October 16.

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

National Sexual Abuse and Redress Support Service 1800 211 028