Back in September 2011, we reported on this blog how the first proceedings under the UK Bribery Act 2010 had been commenced against a Court clerk who had accepted money from various people to help them avoid prosecution for motoring offences. Mr Patel, the Court clerk, was charged with requesting and receiving a bribe intending to improperly perform his functions, an offence under section 2 of the Bribery Act 2010.

Mr Patel faced a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and / or an unlimited fine under the Bribery Act, but life imprisonment for the offence of misconduct in a public office, with which he was also charged. Mr Patel was sentenced on Friday (18 November 2011) to 3 years for the Bribery Act offence and 6 years for misconduct in a public office. The sentences will run concurrently.

Although this case did not involve a corporate and so provided no indication as to the level of sentences that may be imposed for the corporate offence of failing to prevent bribery, the case does show that the Courts are willing to impose tough sentences, including imprisonment, on those engaged in bribery. It is likely that other cases will follow in the near future.