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SA magistrate charged after ICAC investigation

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A South Australian magistrate has been arrested and charged with a number of offences after an investigation by the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption.

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In a statement released this afternoon, Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Bruce Lander said that his investigators had executed five search warrants and arrested Magistrate Robert Harrap today.

“Magistrate 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,” Lander said in a statement.

“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.

“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.”

Lander said the “special circumstances” in the case resulted in him naming Harrap – a departure from his usual practice.

“In particular, I thought not naming the judicial officer would harm the confidence the community necessarily places in the judicial system,” he said.

The investigation is ongoing and “it is anticipated that other charges may be laid and other persons may be charged”.

“No other judicial officers have been subject to investigation.”

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

Chief Magistrate Mary-Louise Hribal said she had been informed of Harrap’s charges today.

“Magistrate Harrap will 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 in a statement.

“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.”

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