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Thursday, 1 September 2011

First prosecution under Bribery Act

And it has nothing to do with corporate hospitality - which is what people seem to have been most worried about. After all, if you were accustomed to going to sporting events or having slap-up dinners at someone else's expense, you would be concerned.

But this first prosecution is much more prosaic, albeit pretty worying. The Guardian reports that the first person to be prosecuted is a magistrates' court clerk who seems to have suggested that he could make a motoring offence go away for £500. Beside the massive figures that prompted the introduction of the legislation in the first place, that's not even small beer. It doesn't even count as still water. But it certainly shows that zero tolerance is with us, as it surely should be, and the hapless clerk is in custody, due to appear at Southwark Crown Court on 14 October.

But of course this proves nothing about the tricky corporate offence of failing to prevent bribery from happening. There's a lot more to the Act than one minor court official soliciting a payment.

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