South Australian Magistrate charged with Perverting the Course of Justice and Deception

South Australian Magistrate Robert Harrap has been charged with two counts of deception, one count of conspiracy to commit an abuse of public process and one count of conspiracy to attempt to obstruct or pervert the course of justice or due administration of the law.


In this article we will discuss what is the law in New South Wales for the offence of Fraud.

The Law in New South Wales:

In NSW, the two counts of deception would fall under the offence of fraud under s192F Crimes Act 1900 . Fraud requires the following elements:

  • A person: either an individual, company or organisation
  • Intentionally or recklessly
  • By deception: by words or other conduct regarding law or fact
  • Obtains property belonging to another; or
  • Obtains any financial advantage or causes financial disadvantage

Obtaining a financial advantage could include gaining money through a scam or lying in order to avoid paying money. Whereas, causing financial disadvantage includes scamming another person from their money.

The other charge of perverting the course of justice, in NSW, is covered under s319 of the Crimes Act. This offence requires the following elements:

  • A person: either and individual, company or organisation
  • Act or omission: does an act or fails to act
  • Intention to pervert the course of justice
  • Pervert the course of justice: obstructing, preventing, perverting or defeating the course of justice or administration of law. For example, making false or misleading statements.


ICAC Investigation & Magistrate Harrap’s Charges:

Following the ICAC investigation, led by Mr Lander, Magistrate Robert Harrap was allegedly charged due to two incidents.

The first incident occurred between the 19th and 22nd of May 2020, Magistrate Harrap had misrepresented who was driving his government-issued vehicle  at the time a traffic offence was being committed. In doing this Magistrate Harrap was deceiving persons into believing he did not commit the offence, and as a result would have incurred a benefit – as he would not be punished or be forced to pay a fine.

The second incident occurred between 10th and 29th May 2020, which relates to conspiracy to commit an abuse of office and conspiracy to attempt to obstruct or pervert justice regarding a matter Magistrate Harrap heard and was to continue to preside over. This incident allegedly involved multiple people and Mr Lander has stated that in the near future, others may be charged.

Currently, Chief Magistrate Hribal has directed Magistrate Harrap to take leave from all matters until the charges have been determined by the Court.

Magistrate Harrap, presently on bail,  is scheduled to appear in Adelaide Magistrate’s Court on the 6th of July this year. The matter will be heard by a District Court Judge, as per Chief Magistrate Hribal’s statement.

It is unusual for ICAC to name individuals involved in their investigations, however, Mr Lander states that the identification is justified as “not naming the judicial officer would harm the confidence the community necessarily places in the judicial system”.


The above information is intended as general information and is not intended to be relied on as legal advice.


Pannu Lawyers extensively practice in Criminal Law and regularly appear at Courts throughout New South Wales. If your matter is at Blacktown Local Court, we are conveniently located within a walking distance from the Blacktown Local Court. Call our office on 02 9920 1787 to discuss your matter in a confidential manner.

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