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  • Rikki Lambert

Magistrate's jail term increased on appeal

Updated: Apr 16, 2021

On Wednesday, South Australia's Court of Criminal Appeal accepted the crown's argument for a longer jail term for magistrate Bob Harrap.

Harrap was originally jailed for at least 12 months 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.

At a hearing in February, Director of Public Prosecutions Martin Hinton argued that Harrap's sentences for both sets of offending were manifestly inadequate and urged the Court of Appeal to intervene.

Mr Hinton also argued against the order that the sentences for the conspiracy offences and the deception charges be served concurrently.

But Harrap's defence counsel David Edwardson QC said Harrap's sentences were excessive considering he was a first offender, had excellent character references and was at very low risk of reoffending.

In jailing Harrap last year, District Court Judge Paul Slattery said he accepted the 61-year-old had lost his career, that his mental health had been impacted and that he would be at greater risk in prison.

But Judge Slattery said Harrap knew the seriousness of his offending.

"Members of the judiciary are required to hold themselves separately from other members of society."

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

The Court accepted the crown's argument, increasing Harrap's jail sentence for deception and conspiracy crimes but could still be free before Christmas.

The Court increased Harrap's head sentence from 18 to 21 months, but left his non-parole period unchanged at 12 months.

That should allow for his release late this year.

-- with AAP


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