The Independent Commissioner Against Corruption in South Australia has arrested and charged a magistrate over alleged offences involving a government-issued vehicle.
In a statement, the Honourable Bruce Lander QC, Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC) in South Australia, said that earlier on Monday his investigators had executed five search warrants and arrested Magistrate Robert Harrap.
Mr Lander said that 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.
“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,” the statement outlined.
“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.”
In issuing his statement, Mr Lander noted that he had regard to the “special circumstances of the matter”, and had deduced it was “appropriate” to name Magistrate Harrap as an individual arrested and charged as a result of an investigation by ICAC.
“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,” he explained.
“In forming this view, I have had regard to the matters listed in section 25 of the ICAC Act. In particular, I thought not naming the judicial officer would harm the confidence the community necessarily places in the judicial system.”
The investigation is ongoing, Mr Lander said, and “it is anticipated that other charges may be laid and other persons may be charged”.
Magistrate Harrap has been bailed to appear in the Adelaide Magistrates Court at 10am on 6 July 2020.
No other judicial officers have been subject to investigation, ICAC concluded, and as the matter is now before the court, Mr Lander said he would not be commenting further.