A former Liberal MP who once served on a parliamentary committee investigating the RSPCA is facing serious allegations of animal cruelty at his Wheatbelt farms. Nigel Hallett, 67 — a former South West Liberal MLC and Shooters, Fishers, Farmers parliamentary hopeful — faces 13 charges for allegedly failing to provide adequate food and water to sheep in 2018. His son, Michael Hallett, 34, is facing 21 animal cruelty charges and is due to appear in Merredin Magistrate’s Court with his father on September 22. Two companies owned by Nigel Hallett — Hillview Farm Pty Ltd and Pinehill Farm Pty Ltd — are also facing four animal cruelty charges each. A company owned by his son — Sunpride Sheep Pty Ltd — is facing 14 animal cruelty charges. Nigel Hallett was a farmer at Boyup Brook and Corrigin before he entered Parliament in 2005, and now owns thousands of hectares of farmland in the eastern Wheatbelt. The charges were laid by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development in May for “alleged offences involving sheep between May and July 2018, including failing to provide adequate food and water”. DPIRD declined to comment further. Nigel Hallett served on an Upper House parliamentary committee into the how RSPCA WA was run and funded in 2015-16. Among its 26 recommendations, one of the most contentious was giving the Department of Agriculture and Food power over all RSPCA-led prosecutions. That same department, which is today called DPIRD, is the one prosecuting him now. Michael Hallett, who is married to Nicole Caratti, the daughter of one of Perth’s richest men Allen Caratti, is one of Nigel Hallett’s two sons. The penalty for animal cruelty under the Animal Welfare Act is a minimum fine of $2000 and a maximum $50,000 and five years jail. The penalties apply to both individuals and companies. Magistrates can also issue orders additional to the penalties above, such as prohibiting contact or control of animals, orders to repay court costs, orders to repay rehabilitation costs, or forfeiture of animals to the Crown. Nigel Hallett served as the South West Liberal MLC from 2005 to 2017, and served on former WA Premier Colin Barnett’s backbench. He was re-elected for the WA Liberals in 2008 and 2013, but lost the 2017 March election after jumping ship from the WA Liberals to the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers in June 2016. Nigel resigned from the WA Liberals four months after he was relegated to the unwinnable third position on the WA Liberals Upper House ticket for the South West region ahead of the 2017 March State election. At the time, he was trumped on the ticket by then-Shire of Manjimup president Wade De Campo and then former shadow treasurer Steve Thomas, who were placed in first and second positions respectively. In joining Shooters, Fishers, Farmers in June 2015, Nigel said he felt he could better represent his constituents and serve the farm sector as a member of the minor party. He is the sole director and secretary of Pinehill Farm and Hillview Farm. Pinehill Farm includes properties in the Shire of Bruce Rock. Michael Hallett is listed as the sole director and secretary of Sunpride Sheep. All three of the companies are registeredPort Lincoln, South Australia, but the principal place of business is Jandakot. Nigel Hallett was contacted for comment.