Ex-MP Urban avoids arrest, faces WA court

Better late than never – tardy former West Australian MP Barry Urban has appeared in court.Disgraced former West Australian Labor MP MP Barry Urban was almost arrested again – this time for failing to appear in court on 12 fraud charges – but his lawyer took the blame for being “tardy”.

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Urban, 49, has been charged with five counts of uttering a forged record, and one count each of attempted fraud and forging a record related to information allegedly provided in WA Police Force applications.

He also faces five counts of giving false evidence before a parliamentary committee.

The offences relate to information Urban allegedly provided about a University of Leeds degree, a University of Portsmouth certificate of higher education, a WA Local Government Association diploma and his claim that he was part of an international police taskforce in 1998 that was investigating atrocities in the Balkans.

He is also accused of trying to gain a benefit of more than $100 a fortnight for working as a detective in 2007.

“I’m here, guys,” Urban told the waiting media pack outside Perth Magistrates Court on Tuesday, but refused to answer questions before going inside.

Less than half an hour earlier, magistrate Joe Randazzo had issued a warrant for Urban’s arrest under the instruction to only execute the order after 10.30am.

Urban made it to court about 9.30am and his lawyer Mark Andrews apologised to the magistrate for his “tardiness”, explaining he thought the matter was listed for 10am rather than 9am.

Mr Randazzo accepted the apology and cancelled the warrant.

The charges were read to Urban and he acknowledged he understood them, but he was not required to enter pleas.

The police prosecutor flagged an application would be made for some of the charges to be heard in the WA District Court.

Urban also had his bail conditions tweaked so he could go to Perth Airport for work purposes, but he has previously surrendered both his English and Australian passports.

His bail includes a $20,000 personal undertaking and $20,000 surety.

Urban again refused to speak to reporters as he left court. He is due back in court on November 14.

If convicted, he could face up to seven years imprisonment.

Urban quit the Labor party in December and sat as an independent MP until May.

He resigned as the member for Darling Range after a parliamentary committee found he repeatedly lied about his education and work history.

The committee had made the unprecedented recommendation Urban be expelled for committing a “gross and aggravated contempt of parliament”.