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Former SA magistrate jailed over deception charges

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Former Adelaide magistrate Bob Harrap has been jailed for at least 12 months for deception offences after trying to dodge demerit points for speeding.

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Harrap came before the District Court on Friday for sentencing after admitting two counts of deception in relation to the use of his government car and to one count of conspiring to commit an abuse of public office.

He had tried to avoid demerit points and the loss of his licence over speeding fines by lying about who was driving his car at the time.

He had also ensured he heard a court matter despite previously giving the lawyer involved private advice in relation to the case.

Sentencing Harrap, Judge Paul Slattery said he accepted that the former judicial officer was significantly distressed by his actions, was unlikely to offend again and was ordinarily a person of good character.

But he said that had to be balanced against the fact that Harrap was an officer of the court.

“You are a judicial officer who committed criminal offences,” the judge said.

“In your role you fully appreciated the seriousness of the offences you committed.”

Two of Harrap’s co-accused had no convictions recorded, including his former court clerk Melanie Freeman, who agreed to say she was driving his car and take the demerit points on his behalf.

However, a former police prosecutor Abigail Foulkes, who also had points taken from her licence, had a conviction recorded and was placed on a 12-month bond.

The lawyer involved in the separate case, Catherine Moyse, had no conviction recorded and was fined $600 after admitting the same conspiracy charge as Harrap.

In earlier sentencing submissions the court heard that Harrap’s reputation, character and career had been “utterly destroyed”.

Defence counsel David Edwardson QC said it was important to note that while Harrap had initially lied and brought others into his offending, he had not continued to lie when confronted by police.

“When one looks at Mr Harrap, it’s readily apparent that his reputation, his character and his career have been utterly destroyed as a consequence of this extraordinary error of judgment,” Edwardson said.

Harrap was jailed for 18 months with a non-parole period of 12 months.

-AAP

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