Disgraced former West Australian MP Barry Urban has been sentenced to three years in prison for lying about his credentials, with a judge describing him as the “real-life Pinocchio of parliament”.
The Labor-turned-independent MP for Darling Range lied about his work, police and military experience, then maintained his lies during a powerful parliamentary committee in 2018 before sensationally quitting politics.
Urban, 52, eventually pleaded guilty to multiple forgeries, including faking university qualifications and falsely claiming to have investigated war crimes in Bosnia.
His web of lies unravelled after a member of the public queried one of his alleged service medals with a journalist, sparking a media frenzy.
“You have been revealed as the antithesis of honesty and integrity,” WA District Court Judge Carmel Barbagallo said on Thursday.
“Your conduct had the tendency to undermine public confidence in parliament as an institution and confirm the worst caricatures of politicians in the eyes of the community.
“The audacity and arrogance you have demonstrated in lying about your wartime experiences is extraordinary.”
Urban claimed to have a degree and certificate from both Leeds and Portsmouth University, then used those fake qualifications in his application for the WA Police Force.
He was unsuccessful in 2001 but was accepted four years later.
Urban served with WA Police between 2005 until he resigned in 2012.
He was elected to parliament in 2017.
When the parliamentary committee tabled its report in May 2018, it made the unprecedented recommendation that Urban be expelled for committing a “gross and aggravated contempt of parliament”.
Judge Barbagallo noted Urban became emotional when he faced that committee.
“You told the committee of your suffering from PTSD from wartime events that you never lived or experienced,” she said.
“You even attempted to blame PTSD on why it was that you said things that might not have been true.
“This was a brazen performance, deliberately designed to mislead the committee.”
When Urban quit parliament, he said: “This is a situation I regret and it will haunt me for the rest of my life.”
A few months later, Urban was charged with 21 offences.
In August this year, he pleaded guilty to three counts of uttering a forged document and four counts of knowingly giving false evidence before parliament. The other charges were dropped.
Urban must serve at least 18 months behind bars before he can be eligible for parole.
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( Information from news.com.au was used in this report. To Read More, click here )