Vicky Pryce’s speeding points lie ‘a useful family arrangement’, court told

14:59 12 February 2013

Vicky Pryce denies perverting the course of justice. Picture: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

Vicky Pryce denies perverting the course of justice. Picture: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

Vicky Pryce took her ex-husband Chris Huhne’s speeding points in 2003 because she chose to do so, because she was not someone who could be reduced to a “quivering jelly”, a court was told today.

Pryce, 60, of Crescent Grove, Clapham, leaked the scandal to newspapers in 2011, after the former energy secretary left her the previous year, in a bid to “nail” him, Southwark Crown Court has heard.

In his closing speech to jurors today, prosecutor Andrew Edis said: “The position is this.

“One of the most powerful, talented, intelligent and trusted women in the country wishes you to think that when she took some points for her husband in 2003 she had no real choice in doing so.

“You are trying Professor Vicky Pryce, a person who is well used to taking important decisions and actually founded a company whose whole business was to give ethical advice to people who were faced with difficult decisions so that they would do the right things even when the wrong thing would be the easier thing to do.

“You are not talking at the time of a woman who is under the thumb of anyone, you are talking about someone who has had a brilliant career because throughout it she has made very good decisions.”

Pryce has claimed she was forced into constantly compromising her own career so Huhne could pursue his, and told the court he twice tried to bully her into having an abortion, successfully in 1990, but she resisted two years later.

But Mr Edis said suggesting Pryce was someone deprived of choice was to “stop living in the real world”.

“If she was 20 years old, with no independent income, children who were dependant on her husband’s income and if she was habitually bullied and threatened and put in fear, well you might think that such a person would deserve the special treatment that wives in our law are given. But not her.”

He told the jury: “Look at who you are trying because that’s what this case is actually about.

“Do you really think that there is any prospect of this woman having been reduced to such a quivering jelly that when she signed the form she had no real choice.

“Is she the sort of person who can stand her ground and take her own choice? Yes, she is.”

“Desire for revenge”

He said the jury may find the mother-of-five had tried to pull the wool over their eyes by suggesting the first contact she had with newspapers was a lunch with Sunday Times political editor Isabel Oakeshott on March 1, 2011.

The court has heard that Pryce, helped by friend, lawyer and part-time judge Constance Briscoe, was in contact with the Mail on Sunday months before as she tried to get the story out about the points-swapping.

Mr Edis said Pryce taking Huhne’s points was a “useful family arrangement” at the time - saying it was in her interests for Huhne to win the Eastleigh seat as it would mean he would stop travelling to Strasbourg as an MEP.

The court has heard Huhne was ultimately banned anyway, because he had been caught using his mobile phone whilst driving on March 28, 2003 and Pryce had to drive him around.

“The easy way all round is for him to keep his licence,” Mr Edis said, “for both of them actually, it works”.

He said Pryce did not know Huhne had been caught on his phone and would be banned anyway, adding: “She would have thought that if she did take these points, he would keep his licence and that’s something that they both wanted.

“Generally speaking when two powerful and clever, affluent people decide on a course of action that benefits both of them, you may decide that they both do that with their eyes open.”

The prosecutor said Pryce had decided to blame Huhne for the whole affair to get revenge for him leaving her.

“She has never, even to this day, got over that,” he said.

“Having heard what happened, anybody would understand anger, distress, betrayal and a desire for revenge. This is all quite normal.”

He also said, by blaming Huhne, Pryce could absolve herself of any blame.

“Putting all the blame on him has the function of getting revenge but it has another function, it means she can get her revenge but it’s a free ride.

“She brings him down and protects herself, ultimately which has been her plan since she first approached the Mail on Sunday on November 22, 2010.”

Pryce denies perverting the course of justice on the grounds of martial coercion

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