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Hervey Alan Harms walks down stairs outside a Perth court, flanked by two women.

A 73-year-old electrical contractor who was corruptly awarded almost 0,000 worth of work at the City of Perth has avoided being sent to prison.

Hervey Alan Harms was given a 21-month suspended jail sentence after pleading guilty to helping between December 2012 and February 2014.

At the time, Harms ran an electrical contracting business, while Kenny was a City of Perth "facilities manager" who was able to authorise contracts up the value of ,000.

The District Court was told the city's policy was for two other electrical contractors to be offered work ahead of Harms, but instead Kenny arranged for Harms's company to be awarded contracts which, over the 15 months, were worth a total of 9,647.

Harms then split his company's work sheets so the amounts he was paid were under ,000, which was the limit Kenny could authorise — a practice described in court as "smurfing".

State prosecutor David Jubb said "in recognition", Harms gave Kenny 0 to pay a vehicle registration and ,000 to pay two credit card debts.

A large man in a white beard wearing a suit walks down the steps outside the Perth District Court.

A third sum of almost ,000 was also arranged but was not paid.

Harms's barrister Sam Vandongen said the offence happened after his client became friends with Kenny, whom he claimed was "isolated" and "treated fairly badly" when he started work at the City of Perth.

"He was an outsider from the eastern states, and he was the subject of some bullying," Mr Vandongen submitted.

"They became friends after Harms recognised he was not having a good time of things."

Mr Vandongen said his client had carried out work for the City of Perth for about 20 years, and could "appropriately be described as part of the furniture" because of his knowledge of Council House.

He said Harms had experienced mental health issues throughout his life, and the case had taken an "enormous" toll on him and left him in hospital twice.

Judge Gillian Braddock said Harms had facilitated what she described as Kenny's breach of trust, and the offence had "undermined the reputation" of the City of Perth and of local government.

Perth City Council House

"It is significant to my mind you were complicit in the corruption of Kenny. You enabled and extended that corruption," she said.

However, Judge Braddock accepted Harms had previously been a hardworking man who, until these offences, "had negotiated a whole life-time without losing his good character".

"You have now comprehensively lost that good character and I can see now that weighs heavily upon you," he said.

"You have effectively, internally punished yourself for the wrongdoing."

In deciding a suspended jail term was appropriate, Judge Braddock said she had taken into account Harms's guilty plea, his prior good character, his hardworking background and the fact he was unlikely to offend again.

Kenny has pleaded guilty to charges of acting corruptly to gain a benefit and accepting a bribe.

He has also admitted giving false evidence to the Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC), whose investigation led to both Kenny and Harms being charged.

Kenny is due to be sentenced later this year.

Harms also previously admitted charges of disclosing restricted information about the CCC inquiry and was given a six-month suspended jail term for those offences.

Topics: fraud-and-corporate-crime, , ,



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