May 18 2013 Latest news:
Monday, February 18, 2013
Jurors in the trial of economist Vicky Pryce will continue their deliberations today
Chris Huhne’s former wife is accused of perverting the course of justice by taking the former Lib Dem energy secretary’s speeding points in 2003.
The economist denies the charge, claiming she was coerced by Huhne so he could avoid losing his licence.
Huhne, 58, pleaded guilty to the offence on the first day of their trial, which prompted his resignation as an MP.
Pryce’s defence of marital coercion requires that Huhne was present when she signed the form agreeing to take the points, and that her will was “overborne”.
The jury at Southwark Crown Court have to decide whether the prosecution has proved that Huhne did not coerce Pryce, 60.
The charges date back to 2003 when Huhne’s BMW was clocked speeding on the way back from Stansted Airport.
He already had nine points on his licence and faced a driving ban - something he thought would affect his chances of being nominated as the Lib Dem candidate for Eastleigh, Hampshire.
The points-swapping allegations became public in May 2011 - a year after Huhne left Pryce for PR adviser Carina Trimingham, ending their 26-year marriage.
Pryce spoke to journalists for several months before the story was published as she planned it, the court heard.
The prosecution claim she tried to “peddle” a false story to the Mail on Sunday in late 2010, claiming Huhne bullied a constituency aide into taking the points.
During the trial mother-of-five Pryce described how he put his political career first throughout their marriage, and revealed that he demanded she have an abortion in 1990.
He tried the same thing two years later, the court heard, but she resisted, giving birth to their youngest child.
Pryce, 60, of Crescent Grove, Clapham, south London, described how she was left fragile and broken by the revelation, leading her to leak the story to the newspapers.
The jury at Southwark Crown Court will continue deliberating at 10am today.