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Barry Urban war medal jail sentence: ‘Pinocchio of Parliament’

Disgraced former politician Barry Urban has begun a three-year jail sentence stemming from a fake war medal scandal.
A judge on Thursday branded the 52-year-old Western Australian the “Pinocchio of Parliament” and credited 9News journalist Gary Adshead for exposing the web of lies.

His lie about a fake police medal triggered a parliamentary inquiry, a by-election, a police investigation — and now a prison sentence.

Disgraced former MP Barry Urban sentenced to three years' jail
Disgraced former MP Barry Urban sentenced to three years’ jail. (9News)

“It’s my — I was a war crimes investigator in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1997 to 1998,” Urban told Adshead in a November 2017 phone interview. 

“It’s my overseas police medal from that.”

But the medal would prove to be a fake, despite Urban, who was then the Member for Darling Range, claiming people were “trying to make a story that’s not really a story”.

“This is what annoys me with this f—ing job, with being a politician,” he said. 

“They can’t play the game, they have to play the man and if they want to play the man come and play the man. 

“I have no problem with that.”

Urban lied repeatedly to the Parliament about being awarded a medal for investigating genocide in the war-ravaged Balkans. (9News)
Urban said the medal was from the UK, not Australia. (9News)

Judge Carmel Barbagallo said the ex-Labor MP who “forged, faked and fabricated” his life story was the real life “Pinocchio” of WA Parliament.

Urban pleaded guilty to forging Leeds and Portsmouth university degrees, which helped him become a WA police officer, and lying repeatedly to the Parliament about being awarded a medal for investigating genocide in the war-ravaged Balkans.

In court, the judge said the whole saga started with the 9News phone interview.

“Do you really think with my record I would sit there wearing stuff like that? Really? I just wouldn’t do it,” Urban had said in the interview, claiming the medal was from the UK, not Australia and had his name on it.

Urban lost his career, his family and his house. (9News)

The Judge said Urban was the “very antithesis of honesty and integrity”. Premier Mark McGowan, who once called him a Labor colleague, agreed.

“His behaviour was very odd and it was bizarre at times, but you know, he’s now paid the ultimate price,” Mr McGowan said, describing the incident as “a lesson there for all members of Parliament to try and do the right thing at all times”.

Urban had already lost his career, his family and his house, living in a van at Leighton Beach.

Now the man who created his own urban myth has lost his freedom, too.

With parole, he could be released in 18 months.

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