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In First U.K. Bribery Act Sentencing, Former Court Clerk Handed 6-Year TermA former magistrates' court clerk is the first person to be sentenced under the U.K. Bribery Act, after he admitted accepting a £500 bribe to "get rid" of a speeding charge. Munir Patel received three years under the Bribery Act and six years for misconduct in public office, to run concurrently, resulting in a six-year prison term.
Legal Week2011-11-23 12:00:00 AM
A former magistrates' court clerk has become the first person to be sentenced under the U.K. Bribery Act, after he admitted accepting a £500 bribe to "get rid" of a speeding charge.
Munir Patel was sentenced to six years in prison at Southwark Crown Court Friday after last month pleading guilty to bribery and misconduct in public office during his employment as an administrative clerk at London's Redbridge Magistrates' Court.
He has been handed a three-year sentence under the Bribery Act and a six-year sentence for misconduct in public office. The two sentences will run concurrently, resulting in six years imprisonment.
Patel accepted the bribe in exchange for omitting to record a traffic offense on a court database and has been prosecuted under Section 2 of the Bribery Act for requesting and receiving a bribe intending to improperly perform his functions, as well as misconduct in public office.
Ashurst dispute resolution partner Angela Pearson said: "The sentencing of Munir Patel for three years for bribery under the new Bribery Act demonstrates the significant sentences that the courts are willing to impose on individuals who commit an offense under the act.
"This is to run concurrently with a six-year sentence for misconduct in a public office. It is only a matter of time before the Serious Fraud Office bares its teeth and prosecutes the first corporate or its directors under the act. In the meantime, the business community collectively hold their breath."
At the time Patel was convicted, senior Crown advocate for the Crown Prosecution Service special crime and counter terrorism division Gaon Hart 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."
The Bribery Act came into effect on July 1 this year, marking the biggest overhaul of U.K. bribery laws in over a century.
It created four criminal offenses relating to bribery: bribing another; being bribed; bribing a foreign official; and, for commercial organizations, failing to prevent bribery. The act also marks the first time in the U.K. that bribery will be a corporate crime.