A Court clerk will appear at Southwark Crown Court on 14 October 2011 to face allegations that he accepted a bribe to influence criminal proceedings. This will be the first case brought under the UK Bribery Act 2010, which came into force on 1 July 2011.

Munir Yakub Patel, a Court clerk at Redbridge Magistrates’ Court, has been charged with requesting and receiving a bribe intending to improperly perform his functions, an offence under section 2 of the Bribery Act 2010. The reviewing lawyer for the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, Gaon Hart, said: “It is alleged that Patel promised an individual summonsed for a motoring offence that he could influence the course of criminal proceedings in exchange for £500, on 1 August 2011”. Mr. Patel was arrested after The Sun filmed a man apparently accepting £500 to keep a traffic penalty off a legal database.

If convicted, Mr. Patel will face an unlimited fine and up to 10 years imprisonment. Mr. Patel has also been accused of misconduct in a public office and perverting the course of justice.

Many expected the first case under the Bribery Act 2010 to be against a corporate for bribery involving large amounts of money. It seems however that if a prosecution is deemed to be in the public interest, it will be taken notwithstanding the amount of money involved.