MP on sex assault charges slams cops

Gareth Ward will fight allegations he sexually assaulted two men in May 2025. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Monique Harmer

Former NSW minister Gareth Ward says he is disappointed that his sexual assault trial did not go ahead, with a new date set in more than a year.

Mr Ward was set to stand trial in early April after he pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting two people on separate occasions in Sydney and the Shoalhaven on the NSW south coast.

The independent MP continues to strenuously deny the allegations against him, having been charged with sexual intercourse without consent, three counts of indecent assault and one of common assault.

Mr Ward’s trial was vacated earlier this month after his legal team applied to delay the trial, with the application granted by the NSW District Court.

He told NCA NewsWire that he was pleased a new date had been set but was “disappointed” the trial didn’t go ahead as planned.

Kiama MP Gareth Ward will fight allegations of sexual assault at trial in May 2025. Picture NCA NewsWire/Gaye Gerard.

“The reason for the delay is that the NSW Police provided a significant volume of material less than a week before the trial was due to commence,” Mr Ward said.

“Almost all of that material should have been provided much earlier.”

Mr Ward said police had been in possession of the material for “nearly three years” but “failed” to disclose it.

He said his legal team had foreshadowed a costs application based on the late disclosure of evidence and the “impact” in delaying the proceedings.

“As a local MP, I haven’t skipped a beat and I’ll continue to work hard and get things done for our local community,” he said.

Mr Ward did not face court on Monday as his lawyer, Edward Anderson, said his client was ready for a new date to be set.

Judge Timothy Gartelmaan SC ordered that Mr Ward would face a three to four-week trial in May 2025.

Crown prosecutor Monika Knowles told the court her office still had to go through more than 6000 intercepted phone calls.

Mr Ward was charged in March 2022 over the historic allegations.

He told media that he planned to prove his innocence. Picture NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard

Police allege he indecently assaulted a 17-year-old boy at Meroo Meadow, near Nowra, in 2013 and sexually assaulted a 27-year-old man at Potts Point in inner-city Sydney in September 2015.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges during arraignment at Nowra District Court in March 2023 and told media that he intended to prove his innocence.

Mr Ward, a former Liberal, served as the NSW Minister of Families, Communities and Disability Services under the previous Liberal government.

He was re-elected in 2023 as an independent in the seat of Kiama while having the charges hanging over his head, beating Labor candidate Katelin McInerney.

Mr Ward remains on bail.