Michael Sorby, Adrian Leek and David Justice have been acquitted in a case brought by the Serious Fraud Office. All three men were cleared by a jury at Southwark Crown Court of taking part in a bribery plot for their former employer, metals company Sarclad.
Partner Andrew Smith commented: “These acquittals highlight again the difference between the evidential threshold for a corporate to agree a deferred prosecution agreement and the much higher evidential threshold for finding individuals guilty of criminal offences.
“Historically individuals have nearly always been more willing to fight the SFO than their corporate employer, which has usually been more risk-averse for commercial and reputational reasons. But following the acquittals and in Tesco, and the SFO’s decision not to prosecute individuals in Rolls Royce, the time is surely right for more companies to stand up to the SFO and demand to scrutinise the case against them before agreeing to any criminality, including in a DPA.”