Court Cases, News & what's on - Written by on Friday, August 19, 2011 3:21 - 3 Comments

What have the UK riots got to do with Bribery?

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On Tuesday this week Perry Sutcliffe- Keenan (left) and Jordan Blackshaw (right) were convicted and jailed of inciting a riot on Facebook, on Tuesday, last week.

They got four years each even though no-one actually turned up to their botched attempt.

The UK CPS had this to say:

“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).




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James Vine (@JamesPSVine)
Aug 19, 2011 6:38

In your example is not the manager equally as guilty of the Section 1 offence as the junior on the basis of joint enterprise?

Barry & Richard
Aug 21, 2011 1:41

Hello James, thanks for this – so many possibilities!

James Vine (@JamesPSVine)
Aug 21, 2011 12:31

You’re welcome. You too are friends with Viv Robinson I see. We should make contact

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