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Six year sentence for juror who took money in bribe

20 April 2018

A woman who took a bribe while a juror in a five-month money laundering and drug trafficking trial has been given a six year prison sentence.

Catherine Leahy accepted payments amounting to more than £2,800 during the longrunning Glasgow High Court trial, which concluded in April 2016 and in which she acted as spokesperson for the jury. She is the first person in Scotland to have been prosecuted for corrupt behaviour while a member of a jury.

The original trial resulted in the acquittal of Graham Clarke but the conviction of his wife Lindsay among others.

Police received a tip-off after the case, and obtained a surveillance warrant for Leahy’s home. Incriminating conversations were recorded between Leahy and her son.

Leahy denied the charge, under s 2 of the Bribery Act 2010, but was convicted after trial at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Passing sentence, Lord Turnbull said the surveillance evidence “provided overwhelming proof of your guilt and your evidence to the contrary was at times quite ridiculous”.

He continued: “In my judgment, to agree to accept a bribe, from or on behalf of the accused, whilst serving as a juror in a High Court trial, involves conduct which reflects such a serious breach of the public duty which forms the cornerstone of justice in our society, as to constitute conduct at the most serious end of that contemplated by the provisions of the Bribery Act. 

“The nature and seriousness of the lengthy trial in which you served as a juror, and accepted the position of spokesperson, aggravates the offence even further. 

“It is obvious that a very lengthy custodial sentence is merited by such conduct.”

He took account of the fact that Leahy was a first offender, had a good employment record and had been a carer for her late parents and husband, as well as her own age (62) and poor health.

The maximum sentence available under s 2, which applies to bribery in public duties, business or employment, is 10 years.

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