By Paul Sakkal and Michael Fowler Victorians who committed minor criminal offences will no longer…
A magistrate has been arrested and charged with deception over alleged traffic offences involving his car.
Magistrate Robert Harrap has been charged with two counts of deception and one count of conspiracy to commit the offence of abuse of public office and one count of conspiracy to attempt to obstruct or pervert the course of justice or due administration of the law.
“It will be alleged that on two occasions between 19 May 2020 and 22 May 2020, Magistrate Harrap misrepresented who was driving his government issued vehicle at the time it was observed committing traffic offences and thereby engaged in deception in order to obtain a benefit for himself,” ICAC commissioner Bruce Lander said in a statement.
“It will also be separately alleged that between 10 May 2020 and 29 May 2020 Magistrate Harrap conspired with another person to pervert the course of justice and conspired to abuse his public office in relation to a matter that was to be heard by him and was heard by him.
“In making this statement I have had regard to the special circumstances of the matter and formed the view that it is appropriate to name Magistrate Harrap as a person arrested and charged as a result of an investigation by my office.
“This is a departure from my usual practice of not naming individuals who have been charged until they have appeared in court for the first time.”
Mr Lander said he believed not naming Magistrate Harrap would “harm the confidence the community necessarily places in the judicial system”.
The investigation is ongoing and other charges may be laid against Magistrate Harrap and other people may be charged.
Magistrate Harrap has been bailed to appear in the Adelaide Magistrates Court on July 6.
Chief Magistrate Mary-Louise Hribal said Mr Harrap would not sit or conduct any court business until the matters against him had been finalised.
“Accordingly, I have directed that Magistrate Harrap take leave until the charges against him have been determined according to law,” Judge Hribal said in a statement.
She said it was also not appropriate for any other magistrate to hear the matter so she had asked for a judge of the District Court to preside over his case.