Court clerk who took cash makes legal history

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A court clerk made legal history yesterday, becoming the first defendant to be convicted under new wide-ranging bribery legislation.

In exchange for £500 Munir Yakub Patel, 22, used his job as an administration clerk in the back rooms of Redbridge Magistrates’ Court, east London, to avoid putting details of a traffic summons offence on a court database.

Patel was caught on camera by a national newspaper agreeing to take the action for Jayraj Singh who had been given a speeding ticket.

The Sun handed over their evidence to the authorities and Patel, of Green Lane, Dagenham, Essex, became the first person to be prosecuted and convicted under the Bribery Act 2010.

He admitted bribery at Southwark Crown Court and also admitted misconduct in a public office dating from February 23, 2009 to August 2011 in which he advised people how to avoid being summoned over such matters.

He was also found with photocopied blank invoices for a garage but denied seven counts of possession of an article for use in fraud. The charges will lie on file.

Patel, who is of previous good character, will return to Southwark Crown Court on November 11 to be sentenced. The maximum term is 10 years in jail.

With the much-heralded new legislation, which came into force on July 1, it was thought the first prosecution could be a high-profile corporate case.

The Serious Fraud Office had announced it would use the Act, which superseded regulation dating back to 1906, to pursue big companies and foreign businesses listed in London which were suspected of committing bribery.

The 2010 legislation gives investigating authorities far-reaching powers.

The coalition hailed it as allowing the UK to clamp down on corruption without being a burden on business.

The law covers four offences: actively giving or offering a bribe, a passive bribery offence, bribing a foreign public official, and a corporate offence of failing to stop a bribe on behalf of your organisation.