Court Cases, News & what's on - Written by Barry & Richard on Friday, August 19, 2011 3:21 - 3 Comments
What have the UK riots got to do with Bribery?
They got four years each even though no-one actually turned up to their botched attempt.
“Jordan Blackshaw, 21 and Perry Sutcliffe, 22, independently and from the safety of their homes may have thought that it would be acceptable to set up a Facebook page to incite others to take part in disorders in Cheshire. They were wrong and were both sentenced today to four years imprisonment at Chester Crown Court, after pleading guilty to intentionally encouraging another to assist the commission of an indictable offence under sections 44 and 46 of the Serious Crime Act 2007.
“They both used Facebook to organise and orchestrate serious disorder at a time when such incidents were taking place in other parts of the country. Both defendants, in Northwich and Warrington respectively, sought to gain widespread support in order to replicate similar criminality. In investigating these cases, the Cheshire Constabulary acted very swiftly and effectively to close down these websites and to ensure that there was no actual participation in the planned events. Nevertheless, these posts caused significant panic and revulsion in local communities as rumours of anticipated violence spread.”
What’s any of this got to do with bribery?
Nothing. Which is precisely what the Facebook page had to do with any *actual* rioting.
However, *exactly* the same principle applies to offences under the Bribery Act.
In other words, in addition to the offences under the Bribery Act individuals (and corporates) can be prosecuted and convicted of simply encouraging or assisting in relation to potential (or actual) bribery under the Serious Crime Act.
As this case shows it is not necessary for anyone to actually bribe (or riot).
It is easy to conjure up a scenario where a manager encourages a more junior employee to pay a bribe. Even if the junior employee does not pay the bribe at the end of the day criminal liability can be triggered.
While Jordan and Perry got four years under the Serious Crime Act the maximum sentence in the context of Bribery would be ten.
No doubt neither imagined last week that they would be convicted and in prison for a lengthy custodial sentence for what probably seemed (to them at least) like a good idea at the time.
In addition to all the focus on the Bribery Act there are numerous other criminal offences which may be applicable in relation to Bribery (or in the case of the Serious Crime Act, the lack of it).