Shaun Gilchrist: Sex charges dropped against Nationals candidate who died before Victorian election

Sexual assault charges have been dropped against a former regional Victorian Nationals candidate after he died just days out from the state election.

On Monday, charges against Shaun Gilchrist were formally discontinued in the County Court of Victoria before judicial registrar Matthew Phillips.

The former Warragul businessman had been standing as the Victorian Nationals candidate in Narracan – about 120km southeast of Melbourne.

He is survived by his partner and two children.

A trial had been notionally seen in the County Court of Victoria in June for three charges of sexual assault and one of rape.

The 47-year-old’s body was found by police in bushland near Rawson on the afternoon of November 20, triggering a postponed poll in the West Gippsland seat.

Victoria Police at the time said his death was not being treated as suspicious.

Then Victorian Liberal leader Matthew Guy and Nationals leader Peter Walsh said they were unaware of the allegations against Mr Gilchrest when he was endorsed as a candidate.

“We are talking about the widow and two young children who have lost their father. I am going to respect the request for privacy,” Mr Walsh told reporters at the time.

The Victorian Electoral Commission held a supplementary election on Saturday, with Wayne Farnham from the Victorian Liberals winning the seat.

In a field of 11 candidates, Mr Farnham claimed victory with 62.7 per cent of the two-party-preferred vote against independent Tony Wolfe.

He will take over as the Narracan MP from retiring Liberal MP Gary Blackwood, who held the seat for 16 years.

The result does not change the outcome of the Victoria election but will give the Coalition one more seat than it managed after the 2018 election.

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