Magistrate 'utterly destroyed' by offences

Bob Harrap (centre) tried to avoid demerit points on his licence over speeding fines by lying.
Bob Harrap (centre) tried to avoid demerit points on his licence over speeding fines by lying.

The reputation, character and career of a former Adelaide magistrate have been "utterly destroyed" but prosecutors say Bob Harrap must go to jail for deception and conspiracy offences.

Mr Harrap came before the District Court on Friday for sentencing submissions 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.

In regard to the deception, the court was told Harrap had tried to avoid demerit points on his licence over speeding fines by lying about who was driving his car at the time.

With the conspiracy charge, it was alleged he wrongly advised that he could hear a matter in his court that a lawyer had sought his assistance on.

Defence counsel David Edwardson QC said it was important to note that while Harrap had initially lied about the fines 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," Mr Edwardson said.

The court was told Harrap apologised for his offending and was contrite.

He also took full responsibility for his actions.

It heard he had already suffered greatly through his resignation as a magistrate which had impacted on his ability to help care for his disabled daughter.

Mr Edwardson asked for a suspended sentence or home detention and said a jail term could place Harrap at high risk of being targeted while in prison.

But prosecutor Peter Longson said Harrap should go to jail and urged Judge Paul Slattery to revoke his bail on Friday, a submission the judge rejected.

"He made a number of errors of judgments over weeks in relation to the deception matters. These weren't spur-of-the-moment conversations," Mr Longson said.

"He made considered bad decisions over time."

He said Harrap's "tragic" circumstances in relation to his daughter were also not unique and the question of him being at risk in prison was something for the authorities to manage.

"He would have known if he got caught what was going to happen to him," the prosecutor said.

"That is, he was finished as a magistrate, he was finished as a legal practitioner and he would be facing a term of imprisonment.

"Given how much he had to lose he clearly thought....he was never going to get caught."

Harrap's early pleas mean he will be eligible for a discount of 40 per cent on any sentence imposed.

He was charged after an investigation by the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption.

Also before the District Court on Friday were his three co-accused.

Lawyer Catherine Moyse has pleaded guilty to conspiring to abuse public office.

Melanie Freeman and police prosecutor Abigail Foulkes have both admitted deception offences, related to the traffic fines.

Sentencing submissions for Freeman and Foulkes will be presented in November.

All four will be sentenced later that month.

Australian Associated Press