The first person to be charged under the new Bribery Act will be a magistrates court clerk who allegedly accepted £500 for fixing a motoring offence.
The Crown Prosecution Service (“CPS”) has decided to prosecute Munir Yakub Patel who faces a charge under Section 2 of the Bribery Act for allegedly requesting and receiving a bribe intending to improperly perform his functions. Mr Patel is due to appear before Southwark Crown Court on 14 October 2011. According to press reports, he is currently being held in custody.
Proceedings for offences under the Bribery Act require the consent of either the Director of Public Prosecutions or the Director of the Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”). The SFO is the lead agency in England and Wales for investigating and prosecuting cases of overseas corruptions whereas the CPS prosecutes bribery offences investigated by the police committed either overseas or in England and Wales (although it is anticipated that the CPS will focus more on domestic cases).
Whilst this may only be a small case which will not touch on key concerns relating to jurisdiction and hospitality, it marks the start of jurisprudence on the Bribery Act. It will also put the SFO under increased pressure to start its own action under the Bribery Act.