Court clerk in Sun bribery sting to be sentenced

A clerk at an east London court who became the first defendant to be convicted under new bribery legislation after being exposed by The Sun is due to be sentenced.

In exchange for £500, Munir Yakub Patel, 22, used his job as an administration clerk at Redbridge Magistrates’ Court to avoid putting details of a traffic summons offence on a court database.

Patel was caught on camera by The Sun agreeing to take the action for Jayraj Singh, who had been given a speeding ticket.

The Sun handed over the evidence to the authorities and Patel, of Green Lane, Dagenham, Essex, became the first person to be prosecuted and convicted under the Bribery Act 2010.

He admitted bribery and misconduct in a public office dating from February 23, 2009 to August 2011 in which he advised people how to avoid being summoned over such matters.

He was also found with photocopied blank invoices for a garage but denied seven counts of possession of an article for use in fraud. The charges will lie on file.

Patel, who is of previous good character, will be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court. The maximum jail term is 10 years.

The much-heralded new legislation came into force on July 1 and it was thought the first prosecution could be a high-profile corporate case.

The Sun technically breached the Bribery Act as it helped to secure the landmark conviction, the newspaper’s managing editor said this week.

Richard Caseby urged Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke to consider introducing a public interest defence to the Act, saying the current laws left reporters open to prosecution. But Mr Clarke ruled out the move, saying the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, would simply dismiss any cases in which a prosecution was not in the public interest.

Caseby told the Society of Editors’ annual conference at Egham, Surrey: “To conduct a sting on this individual, we had to pay him money.

“The reporter came to me, I signed him off a certain amount of money, and he paid him, so technically I’m in breach of the Bribery Act, so is that reporter, and so is News International, which could now be subject to an unlimited fine.”

UPDATE 3pm 18/11/11

Patel was handed a three-year prison term for bribery and ordered to serve six years concurrently for misconduct in a public office.

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