The Public Bodies Corrupt Practices Act 1889 (UK)

I believe this was the first Act in the UK to criminalise bribery.  The law was originally passed in 1889 and was recently replaced by the Bribery Act in 2010.  Three points struck me as interesting: first, the maximum prison sentence was 7 years–this is much lower than Indonesia’s 20 years; second, repeat offenders were liable to lose access to state pensions and were unable to vote for five years–I don’t believe Indonesian law considers these penalties; and three, all prosecutions under the Act required the approval of the Attorney-General–investigations of corruption relating to current regional leaders and politicians require the approval of the President (but this is stipulated in the Regional Government Act of 2004, not the Corruption Act of 1999 and 2001).

2 Penalty for offences

Any person on conviction for offending as aforesaid shall, at the discretion of the court before which he is convicted,—

(a) be liable—

(i) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or to both; and

(ii) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years or to a fine, or to both; and

(b) in addition be liable to be ordered to pay to such body, and in such manner as the court directs, the amount or value of any gift, loan, fee, or reward received by him or any part thereof; and

(c) be liable to be adjudged incapable of being elected or appointed to any public office for five years from the date of his conviction, and to forfeit any such office held by him at the time of his conviction; and

(d) in the event of a second conviction for a like offence he shall, in addition to the foregoing penalties, be liable to be adjudged to be for ever incapable of holding any public office, and to be incapable for five years of being registered as an elector, or voting at an election either of members to serve in Parliament or of members of any public body, and the enactments for preventing the voting and registration of persons declared by reason of corrupt practices to be incapable of voting shall apply to a person adjudged in pursuance of this section to be incapable of voting; and

(e) if such person is an officer or servant in the employ of any public body upon such conviction he shall, at the discretion of the court, be liable to forfeit his right and claim to any compensation or pension to which he would otherwise have been entitled.

4 Restriction on prosecution

(1) A prosecution for an offence under this Act shall not be instituted except by or with the consent of the Attorney General.

(2)In this section the expression “Attorney General” means the Attorney F1. . . General for England, and as respects Scotland means the Lord Advocate, . . .

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