An Australian MP has been found in contempt of parliament after falsely claiming a medal and degrees

UN forces in Bosnia in 1993 Pascal Guyot/AFP/Getty Images

Barry Urban, a state MP in Western Australia who claimed to have a medal he wasn’t entitled to and university qualifications he didn’t have, has been found in contempt of state parliament and is to be investigated for fraud.

In state parliament today, Premier Mark McGowan read a letter from police commissioner Chris Dawson who says he intends to instruct the major fraud squad to start a criminal investigation.

Urban resigned as a member of the Labor Party, and then from the parliament, after admitting that a medal he had said he was awarded for police service overseas had been purchased online.

An investigation by the parliament’s Procedure and Privileges Committee found Urban to have committed “sustained and gross contempt of Parliament”, the first state MP to be found to be in contempt, when giving evidence to the committee and to parliament.

The report of that inquiry, presented to parliament by state Speaker Peter Watson, says Urban falsely claimed an honours degree from Leeds University in Physical Education and Applied Social Science.

The degree he didn’t have. Image: WA Parliament

The 49-year-old also submitted what he claimed was a certified copy of that degree. However, the committee’s investigation found that the university had no record of such a degree being awarded.

The inquiry found that Urban “deliberately sought to deceive the Committee by providing to it a forgery of a degree” from the University of Leeds.

Urban was also found not to have been awarded a Certificate of Higher Education in Policing from the University of Portsmouth and nor did he have what he called “Post Grad – Police Studies”.

The committee also found Urban was not awarded a Diploma of Local Government as claimed.

The now former Member Darling Range was elected to parliament in March last year. He resigned yesterday.

He was born in the UK, joined the British Army and later the police. He claimed to have worked as a detective and a war crimes investigator in Bosnia. Urban moved to Western Australia in 2000.

However, the committee inquiry found that he did not serve in the Balkans in late 1998 and that he did not serve in an international capacity while serving with West Midlands Police.

The inquiry said Urban “was not entitled to wear any form of commemorative international police service medal.”

A medal claimed by Urban:

Image: WA Parliament

The WA Parliament is now debating its response, and possible penalties for Urban, to the committee’s contempt findings.

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