Munir Patel, an administrative clerk at London's Redbridge
Magistrates' Court whose October guilty plea made him the first
person to be convicted under the new UK Bribery Act, was sentenced
this morning in the Southwark Crown Court to six years in prison.
Patel's sentence includes a three-year prison term for
violations of Section 2 of the Bribery Act and a six-year sentence
for misconduct in public office. The sentences will run
concurrently, for a total six-year prison sentence.
In handing down the sentence, Judge Alistair McCreath noted that
Patel's conduct spanned more than a year and involved at least
53 cases in which traffic violators made payments to avoid
penalties. Describing Patel's offense as "serious,"
Judge McCreath highlighted that Patel's sole motivation was
greed and that his acts resulted in a personal gain of at least
Representing perhaps the most significant and wide-ranging
anti-corruption legislation in history, the UK Bribery Act and its
inevitable enforcement have been greatly anticipated by UK
companies, UK citizens and residents, and those conducting business
in the UK. While the Patel case was initially viewed with some
skepticism by those who had anticipated that the first UK Bribery
Act prosecution would involve more far-reaching conduct and
significant corporate wrong doing, the resulting sentence makes
clear that the UK government, Serious Fraud Office, and prosecutors
alike intend to make good on promises to utilize the new Act as a
significant tool in the fight against corruption.
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Under what courts call the "crime-fraud exception" to the attorney-client privilege, the privilege does not protect communications between clients and their lawyers which further client wrongdoing. Courts agree that the exception applies to crimes and traditional common law intentional fraud.
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