Reviews the present role of corruption in English law, pointing out that there is actually no offence of corruption, nor of fraud, although there is a draft bill to establish the general offence of fraud; the link of corruption with bribes or gifts seems to permeate all relevant statutory offences. Suggests that it is possible to follow the example of fraud, provide a new definition and draft a general offence of corruption. Outlines what this new concept of corruption would be: the perversion of a person’s integrity in the performance of a public duty. Develops the concept by considering the aims and purposes of the person’s office, the mens rea (ie guilty intent) of the proposed offence, examples of forms of conduct covered by the proposed offence, and principal and secondary parties. Moves on to possible objections to the proposed offence on the grounds of human rights violation, and to the status of the proposed offence. Concludes that a statutory offence of corruption could be drafted in a way that did not lead to uncertainty or unfairness in its prosecution, and that it would be a powerful weapon against dishonesty.
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