Court officer now speeding his way to prison

We tweeted in October about the court clerk who was convicted of offences under the Bribery Act for accepting bribes to remove  details of a traffic summons. Altogether Mr Patel ‘assisted’ more than 50 people – what an irony; assisting people to avoid prosecution has resulted in his prosecution!

Patel has been sentenced to 3 years in prison (to run concurrently with a sentence of 6 years for misconduct of public office). This may shock some – surely a few little bribes to remove the occasional driving offence doesn’t deserve 3 years in prison? Well, we need to look at this a little closer.

Whilst it is perhaps easy to quickly conclude that the sentence seems particularly harsh, thought has to be given to exactly what happened here.

This was not just a matter of a couple of speeding tickets, but it was a blatant disregard for the legal process by someone trusted to handle matters of such importance.  In addition the judge said that the importance of the penalty point system was to put bad drivers off the road and act as a deterrent to others. Mr. Patel’s crime therefore went far beyond a removal of a summons.

Whatever your view this case demonstrates how seriously the judiciary is treating offences of bribery and particularly situations where there is a severe breach of trust as there was here.