Longer jail term sought for SA magistrate

·2-min read

Former Adelaide magistrate Bob Harrap betrayed the public's trust and must receive a tougher penalty for deception and conspiracy offences, an appeal court has been told.

Harrap was 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.

In the Court of Criminal Appeal on Thursday, Director of Public Prosecutions Martin Hinton argued that Harrap's sentences for both sets of offending were manifestly inadequate.

"And so inadequate that this court should intervene," he said.

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 argued that Harrap's sentences were excessive considering he was a first offender, had excellent character references and was at very low risk of reoffending.

"Most importantly, His Honour accepted that the custodial setting of this man as a former magistrate would put him at high risk," Mr Edwardson said.

He said the sentencing judge should have given greater consideration to that risk.

The Crown has also appealed against the fine imposed on the lawyer involved in the conspiracy case, Catherine Moyse, who had no conviction recorded.

Mr Hinton said such an outcome was manifestly inadequate and failed to maintain an appropriate standard of punishment.

He said because of the gravity of the offence and its significance to the administration of justice, a conviction should have been recorded.

In sentencing 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 jail.

But he said Harrap knew the seriousness of his offending.

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

"You are a judicial officer who has committed criminal offences. Those acts alone are apt to give rise to public disquiet about the integrity of the judicial system.

"Your criminal conduct has struck at the very heart and foundation of that judicial function along with the importance of the role."

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