A court clerk is the first person in the UK to be convicted under
the new Bribery Act
A clerk has become the first person convicted
under the Bribery Act, for taking a bribe while working at an
east London court.
The clerk worked at Redbridge Magistrates' Court
at the time of the incident in August. The clerk took £500
to avoid putting details of a traffic summons on court database.
He admitted one count of bribery and misconduct
when he appeared at Southwark Crown Court.
The new Bribery Act, which came into force on
1 July, made it illegal to offer or receive bribes, and to fail
to prevent bribery. Before the new law, similar regulations dated
back to 1906 but the Bribery Act also covers bribing a foreign
public official and a corporate offence of failing to stop a bribe
on behalf of your organisation.
Earlier, The Serious Fraud Office said it would
use the legislation - which covers businesses' employees, agents,
subsidiaries, subcontractors or other third parties - to pursue
companies and foreign businesses listed in London which are suspected
of committing bribery.
'Act with integrity'
The clerk was arrested after a newspaper filmed
him arranging the bribe to prevent a traffic penalty for speeding
being entered on a legal database. The clerk faces a maximum of
10 years in prison. The clerk was filmed taking the bribe by a
newspaper The misconduct charge stated that between February 2009
and August 2011 Patel gave people advice about how to avoid being
summoned to court over such matters. But he denied seven counts
of possession of an article for use in fraud. The court ordered
these charges to lie on file. The Judge warned the clerk that
he could face immediate custody and adjourned sentencing until
11 November. He has been bailed until his sentencing. The Solicitor,
who represented the clerk, said the clerk was a man of previous
good character. Following the conviction, the Crown Prosecution
Service, said: "Public servants are required to act with
integrity, honesty, objectivity and impartiality but the clerk's
actions could not have been further from each of these. "His
conduct has brought into disrepute the criminal justice system
as he sought to undermine the very laws which he was employed
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."