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First prosecution and conviction under the Bribery Act 2010
The first prosecution and conviction under the new Bribery Act 2010, which came into effect on 1 July 2011, took place on 14 October 2011 following the guilty plea of 22 year old Munir Yukub Patel. Patel was subsequently imprisoned for 3 years on 18 November 2011 in respect of this conviction, which was discounted given his early guilty plea. In sentencing Patel, HHJ McCreath stated that if the case had gone to trial Patel would have received 4-5 years’ imprisonment out of a potential maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment. Patel was also sentenced to 6 years’ imprisonment in respect of misconduct in public office. The sentences are being served concurrently.
Patel was a magistrates' court administrative officer at the time of the offence. In this position, he admitted taking a £500 bribe in order to "get rid" of a speeding charge. He also pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office. There were also seven charges of possessing false garage receipts for use in fraud, which have been ordered to lie on file.
Gaon Hart, Senior Crown Advocate for the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said:
"This prosecution is the first of its kind under the Bribery Act 2010 which has provided a significant weapon in the armoury of prosecutors that enables us to focus on the bribery element rather than general misconduct behaviour. We will continue to target those who act corruptly purely for personal gain and tailor the charge to reflect their wrong-doing."
HHJ McCreath noted that Patel’s misconduct had lasted for more than a year, involving at least 53 cases in which he had “manipulated the process in order to save offenders from the consequences of their offending - fines, penalty points and disqualification.”
McCreath added “That is why I described these offenses as very serious. They caused great harm and involved high culpability on your part” amounting to a “very substantial breach of trust".
Protecting your business under the Bribery Act 2010
Notably, the Bribery Act 2010 creates a new criminal offence for commercial organisations failing to prevent bribery by persons associated with them, such as individual employees. It is, nevertheless, a defence to such a criminal charge if the commercial organisation can prove that adequate procedures designed to prevent such bribery were in place.
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