Speeding points trial: Jury retires to consider verdict in case of Vicky Pryce

14:40 14 February 2013

Chris Huhne and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce. The jury in the trial of the latter has retired to consider whether she is guilty of perverting the course of justice by taking her ex-husband

Chris Huhne and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce. The jury in the trial of the latter has retired to consider whether she is guilty of perverting the course of justice by taking her ex-husband's speeding points. File picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The jury in the trial of Chris Huhne’s ex-wife, accused of taking his speeding points, has retired to consider its verdict.

Vicky Pryce is charged with perverting the course of justice by taking her disgraced ex-husband’s speeding points in 2003.

Jurors at Southwark Crown Court in London heard the economist denies the charge, claiming she was coerced by Huhne as he tried to avoid losing his licence.

The former energy secretary pleaded guilty to the offence last Monday, resigning as an MP, and now faces jail.

Concluding his summing up of the case, Mr Justice Sweeney told the jury of eight women and four men: “It is of course for the prosecution to prove that Ms Pryce’s will was not overborne in the sense that I have directed you.

“The prosecution say that you can be sure that her will was not overborne because either: one, the claim of coercion is invented, or two, she has lied about it, which she can only have done because it is false.

“Three, she has exaggerated what was really no more than persuasion by comparison between what she has said in the past and what she has said now, with now said to be an exaggeration.

“And fourthly, even on her own account in the witness box, the prosecution say, her will was not overborne, she simply made a choice for her own purposes and only got found out because she decided to use it as a weapon against Huhne.”

He said the prosecution said they had proved that marital coercion did not apply and so the correct verdict would be guilty.

He went on: “The defence say that is all completely wrong.

“You should accept Ms Pryce’s evidence about what happened as she has given it on oath before you, as being true.

“And that the result therefore should be that if you accept it is true, or even that it may be true, then the prosecution will have failed to make you sure either that Mr Huhne wasn’t there when she signed the form, or that her will was not overborne.

“And in that event the defence say obviously the proper verdict is one of not guilty.”

The charges date back to 2003 when Huhne’s BMW was clocked speeding on the way back from Stansted Airport. He was then an MEP and was travelling back from Strasbourg.

With nine points on his licence, he faced a driving ban and was worried it would affect his chances of being nominated as the Lib Dem candidate for the Eastleigh seat, which he went on to win in 2005.

Pryce, who had a clean licence at the time, claims her then husband forced her to take the points, saying if he lost his licence he risked not being nominated, which would be her fault.

She described him standing in their hallway “waving” a pen at her, presenting her with a “fait accompli”, leaving her no choice but to sign.

Huhne was banned later that year for a different offence, the court heard.

The points-swapping allegations became public in May 2011 when they were published in national newspapers.

Related articles

Latest Crime news

Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Minh Chi Lam has been jailed for sexually attacking two teenagers (Photo: Metropolitan Police)

A nail technician from Hackney who sexually assaulted two teenagers at nail salons on Amhurst Road and Mare Street has been jailed for four and a half years.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Eleanor de Freitas was mentally ill, and her father  wants the first inquest into her death quashed so that there can be a new investigation into the Crown Prosecution Service decision to prosecute (Photo: PA Wire)

The father of a trainee accountant who killed herself days before she faced court on suspicion of making a false rape claim is fighting for a fresh inquest into her death.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A lorry driver has been arrested after a 25-year-old woman was killed in a cycling accident in Croydon yesterday afternoon. death of a cyclist.

Monday, May 23, 2016
Do you recognise this man? (Picture: BTP)

Two men singing Millwall FC songs punched a stranger in the face and threatened station staff at Canada Water in a “frightening outburst of violence”, British Transport Police (BTP) said today.

Monday, May 23, 2016
Moses Fadairo

A butcher has described how a gangland shooting in Hackney spilled over into his shop when a gunman opened fire at a drug dealer who had sought refuge behind his counter.

Saturday, May 21, 2016
River Lea murder under Canning Town Bridge [Google image] showing killer Saulius Urbanavicius (left) and his vitim Vaidas Sakalauskas [Met Police photos]

A homeless man has been jailed for life for the sleeping-bag murder of a fellow rough sleeper whose body was discovered in the water as the tide ran out in the Bow Creek in east London.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Read more
Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Read more

Latest Tech News

Transport