Bribe conviction for court clerk Munir Patel UK-first

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A clerk has become the first person convicted under the Bribery Act, for taking a bribe while working at an east London court.

Munir Yakub Patel, 22, worked at Redbridge Magistrates' Court at the time of the incident in August.

Patel, of Green Lane, Dagenham, 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'

Patel was arrested after The Sun filmed him arranging the bribe to prevent a traffic penalty for speeding being entered on a legal database.

He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Image source, bbc
Image caption,
Patel 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.

Judge John Price warned Patel that he could face immediate custody and adjourned sentencing until 11 November.

He has been bailed until his sentencing.

Janice Johnson, who represented the clerk, said Patel was a man of previous good character.

Following the conviction, Gaon Hart, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "Public servants are required to act with integrity, honesty, objectivity and impartiality but Patel'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 to uphold.

"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."

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