Australia Magistrate Robert Harrap arrested and charged amid ICAC investigation

10:50  29 june  2020
10:50  29 june  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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a man wearing glasses and a suit and tie: Magistrate Robert Harrap has been arrested on multiple charges amid an ICAC investigation. (ABC News) © Provided by ABC NEWS Magistrate Robert Harrap has been arrested on multiple charges amid an ICAC investigation. (ABC News)

A South Australian magistrate has been arrested and charged following an investigation by the state's Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC).

In a statement, anti-corruption commissioner Bruce Lander said Magistrate Robert Harrap had been charged with two counts of deception and one count of conspiracy to commit abuse of public office.

He has also been charged with conspiracy to attempt to "obstruct or pervert the course of justice or due administration of the law".

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"This morning my investigators executed five search warrants and have arrested Magistrate Robert Harrap," Mr Lander said.

He said it was alleged that, on two occasions, Magistrate Harrap "misrepresented who was driving his government-issued vehicle at the time it was observed committing traffic offences".

"It will also be separately alleged that … Magistrate Harrap conspired with another person to pervert the cause 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," the statement said.

The offences are alleged to have occurred in May 2020.

Mr Lander said the investigation was ongoing and anticipated that other charges may be laid, and that others may be charged.

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"No other judicial officers have been subject to the investigation," he said.

Magistrate Harrap has been bailed to appear in the Adelaide Magistrates Court on July 6.

However, the state's Chief Magistrate, Mary-Louise Hribal, said the charges against him would be heard by a District Court judge.

Judge Hribal said Magistrate Harrap informed her of the charges against him today.

She said he would not sit as a magistrate or conduct any court business "until the matters have been finalised".

"Accordingly, I have directed that Magistrate Harrap take leave until the charges against him have been determined according to law," she said.

"It is not appropriate for any magistrate to hear the charges against Magistrate Harrap and therefore I have asked the Chief Judge of the District Court to arrange for a judge to hear them.

"There will be no further comment as the matter is now before the court."

Mr Lander said his decision to identify Magistrate Harrap was a "departure from my usual practice of not naming individuals" until they had appeared in court, but was made after referring to the ICAC Act.

"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," Mr Lander said.

"I thought not naming the judicial officer would harm the confidence the community necessarily places in the judicial system."

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