Police have confirmed that a former politician who claims he was forced to resign due to false sexual assault allegations will not face any charges.
Former Nationals MP Michael Johnsen will not face sexual assault charges over allegations involving a sex worker that were aired in parliament in early 2021.
Mr Johnsen resigned following the allegations and is now asking for Trisha Doyle – the Member of Parliament who aired the allegations – to be subject to an independent inquiry.
The former Nationals politician has also requested Police investigate the complainant for making false allegations against him.
Insufficient Admissible Evidence
Following the revelations in parliament, Police sought legal advice from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) as to whether there was any basis to charge Mr Johnsen.
In a statement released to the media, a NSW Police spokesperson said, "Following recommendations made by the DPP, there is insufficient admissible evidence to proceed with charges."
Michael Johnsen, the former MP for Upper Hunter, released his own statement after he was informed of the Police decision with the heading, "Innocent".
MP Claims False Sexual Assault Allegations
Blue Mountains Labor MP Trish Doyle used parliamentary privilege in early 2021 to reveal a "government MP" had been accused of sexually assaulting a sex worker at an isolated location in the Blue Mountains.
Shortly afterwards, Mr Johnsen publicly confirmed that he was the MP at the centre of the allegations. Further details emerged including a claim that Mr Johnsen had offered the sex worker $1,000 to have sex in NSW Parliament. This has also not been substantiated.
It was following these accusations that NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro requested Mr Johnsen's resignation from Parliament. His resignation led to a byelection where the Nationals retained the seat. This result led to the resignation of Labor leader Jodi McKay – who had supported Ms Doyle's actions.
Investigation Over False Sexual Assault Charges
In addition to professing his innocence, Michael Johnsen said he would, "ask NSW Police to investigate her [the sex worker] for using a carriage service to make threats, making false allegations, revenge distribution of private material and press any charges accordingly".
He also noted that the women had "recent criminal convictions" and was "required to undergo treatment as directed by mental health issues".
The former Nationals MP said, "For Trish Doyle and Jodi McKay to use this woman for political purposes is shameful."
He went onto suggest that Ms Doyle had used parliamentary privilege to destroy his career and sully his reputation. He also called for an independent inquiry into Ms Doyle's actions.
Despite Police not taking any action against Mr Johnsen, the stigma of sexual assault accusations will likely follow him for the rest of his life. With Ms Doyle protected by parliamentary privilege, he likely has no recourse to remedy the damage to his reputation.
This follows the recent controversy surrounding federal Attorney-General Christian Porter who also has his reputation affected by what he claimed were false sexual assault allegations. As a result he retained sexual assault lawyers and launched a defamation case against the ABC.
Media outlets attempted to contact Ms Doyle for comment, while Ms McKay did not wish to comment.
Facing False Sexual Assault Charges
Facing false sexual assault charges can be extremely distressing. The stigma that comes with them is likely to follow a person for the rest of their life. That is why it is important to obtain advice from a specialist sexual assault lawyer who has successfully defended hundreds of these charges. Call Astor Legal on (02) 7804 2823. Or, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information you can contact our Sydney, Liverpool or Parramatta Criminal Lawyers. We can arrange a conference for you with a Law Society Accredited Specialist in sexual assault offences.
Making a false accusation is a criminal offence under Section 314 of the Crimes Act 1900. You will be guilty of this offence if you make an accusation with the intention that another person will be investigated for an offence, knowing that the other person is innocent of that offence.
The maximum penalty for making a false accusation is seven years imprisonment.
The following are possible defences to making a false accusation:
- that you had no intention of making someone the subject of a police investigation;
- that you believed the accusation you made was true;
- that you didn't make the accusation.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.