A bribe is the offer, promise or giving of a ‘financial advantage’ to another person for the performance of a ‘relevant function’ by that person.
The words ‘financial advantage’ and ‘relevant function’ are carefully chosen, and slightly obscure.
What it really boils down to is this: If person A promises or provides person B with money or gifts as a reward for person B doing something which gives person A an advantage of some sort, in connection with a business, in public office or in employment they both commit a criminal offence.
Anyone found guilty of a bribery offence could receive a maximum penalty of ten years’ imprisonment or an unlimited fine. Commercial organisations will receive a financial penalty.
For offences involving bribing another person, the prosecution must show that the bribe was intended to induce the recipient to behave improperly or that the bribe was a reward for improper behaviour. Proving intention is not a straightforward task for the prosecution.
Where the allegation is that the defendant has accepted a bribe there a four potential scenarios set out in the Bribery Act which constitute an offence. They include accept bribes for agreeing to perform an improper act, accepting payment as a reward for having performed such an act and accepting a bribe where the payment or reward itself is the improper act.
Bribery cases can be hard-fought, stressful and lengthy. You may be entitled to legal aid to defend bribery allegations, particularly if a Restraint Order has been made against you and your assets. You should seek advice immediately upon being notified of any allegation of bribery as cases can be won and lost at the first interview under caution.
If charges are brought, we are well placed to robustly defend allegations of bribery against individuals or a commercial organisation. Our track record in complex criminal cases speaks for itself.