Bath student jailed over professor bribe - News - Student - The Independent

Bath student jailed over professor bribe

 

A failing student who offered his University of Bath professor £5,000 in cash in a bid to pass his degree has been jailed for 12 months.

Desperate Yang Li, 26, had a loaded replica gun and the money in his pocket when he went to meet his professor at the University of Bath.

The Innovation and Technology Management masters student had been awarded a 37% mark in his dissertation - three marks off the 40% needed to pass.

Bristol Crown Court heard Li arranged to meet Professor Andrew Graves, head of the University's School of Management, to discuss his options after the result.

Professor Graves, who marked the dissertation, told Li he could resubmit the 12,000 word essay, appeal the mark or accept it and withdraw from the course.

But Li, who admitted a charge of bribery and possessing an imitation firearm at the court, told Professor Graves "I am a businessman" before placing £5,000 in cash on the table in front of him.

The court was told Li added: "There is a fourth option, you can keep the money if you give me a pass mark and I won't bother you again."

Professor Graves asked Li to leave but as the student put the money away, a replica hand gun - loaded with six pellets - fell out of his pocket and on to the floor.

Judge Michael Longman told a weeping Li that the weapon caused "fear" and "alarm" to the respected professor at the meeting on November 23 last year.

The judge said: "You attempted to persuade a university professor to behave in such a way that if it had been successful you would have undermined the integrity of the universities in the UK and the legitimacy of degrees from universities here, the University of Bath in particular.

"Your bid to achieve a pass mark by offering what was a bribe to your professor was ill conceived to the point of being a spectacular mistake and one which was doomed to fail from the start."

Judge Longman sentenced Li to 12 months in prison for the bribery charge and six months to run concurrently for a charge of possessing an imitation firearm in a public place.

He ordered married Li, who comes from an "affluent" and "respected" family in China, to pay £4,880 in prosecution costs and a £120 surcharge.

Prosecuting, Mark Hollier said: "The final part of the course is for students to submit a dissertation of about 12,000 words. That had to be in by the first week of September. Mr Li's dissertation was submitted that September last year.

"It was marked by Professor Graves. The pass mark is 40% and the mark awarded was 37%."

Li's dissertation mark was checked by external examiners from Oxford and Cambridge University and found to be correct, Mr Hollier added.

Defending Li, Blake James said Mr Li came from an affluent family in China, where his father is a respected government official and businessman.

Mr James said Li was not a "sham student" and had come to the UK in 2006 for a Computer Science degree at the University of Bath, which he passed.

Documents show Li was progressing well in his masters course until he failed the dissertation, he said.

At the time of the final module, Li was working for his father's firm, earning £25,000 a year with a bonus of £11,000, as well as studying.

"When he learned of the result of the dissertation it was a bitter blow to him," Mr James said.

"He genuinely felt he had done alright."

Mr James said Li was concerned he would not be able to move from his expiring student visa to a Tier 1 visa without passing his course. His current visa has now expired.

He said Li was used to carrying large amounts of cash and had the 0.177 air pistol, used for shooting practice, on his possession as he did not want to leave it in the car during the meeting.

Li sobbed in court - where his parents, wife and parents-in-law sat in the public gallery - as the sentence was handed down. He plans to return to China with his wife, also a University of Bath student, after his release.

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Sport
David Moyes and Rio Ferdinand
FootballRio Ferdinand on why the former manager failed at United
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
News
i100
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Year 5 Teacher RequiredThis temporar...

Reception Teacher

£100 - £163 per day + £100 - £163 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We are a ...

KS2 Teacher

£80 - £100 per day + negotiable : Randstad Education Bristol: Key stage 2 Teac...

KS2 Teachers needed for day to day, long term, permanent roles

£110 - £130 per day + TBA: Randstad Education Reading: Primary Teachers needed...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

The fall of Rome?

Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
Glasgow girl made good

Glasgow girl made good

Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
The landscape of my imagination

The landscape of my imagination

Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories