Tuesday 12 December 2017

No winners in Huhne and Pryce's court battle as both likely to be jailed

Gordon Rayner, Sam Marsden and Martin Evans London

Almost 30 years after they stood at the altar, Vicky Pryce and Chris Huhne will be side by side for one last time later this month, as two convicts awaiting sentence, after their win-or-bust fight with each other ended in disaster.

Both are likely to be jailed after Pryce was convicted yesterday of perverting the course of justice following Huhne's guilty plea to the same offence, giving them plenty of time to reflect on the destructive power of hatred.

Pryce's hunger for revenge after her husband left her for another woman was supposed to bring former Liberal Democrat cabinet minister Huhne's career crashing down by exposing a speeding points scam, while leaving her to bask in his comeuppance.

Instead, her determination to "nail" the former energy secretary, and his attempts to cheat justice, created a whirlwind of toxic allegations that sucked in all those close to them, including their children, whose loathing of Huhne was painfully exposed in court.

They could have been spared if Huhne and Pryce had simply owned up to the fact that they agreed to lie about who was driving Huhne's car when he was caught speeding in 2003 to help him avoid a driving ban.

Instead, Pryce (60) and Huhne (58) fought each other every inch of the way.

Yesterday, a jury of seven men and five women at Southwark Crown Court in London unanimously convicted Pryce of perverting the course of justice after 11 hours of deliberations following Pryce's retrial. A previous jury had been unable to reach a verdict.

Surprise

Pryce opened her mouth wide in surprise as the verdict was delivered, but quickly composed herself as Mr Justice Sweeney bailed her and warned her to expect jail when she returns to court.

He said: "Obviously Ms Pryce was present when I indicated to Mr Huhne the inevitable consequences of a conviction for an offence of this sort.

"She must be under no illusions that my granting of bail indicates any watering down of that provisional approach."

Pryce later stood next to her solicitor Robert Brown outside court as a statement was read on her behalf.

He said she was "very disappointed" with the verdict and thanked "all those who have supported her during this difficult period, particularly her friends and children".

Huhne, who pleaded guilty last month, will be sentenced alongside his ex-wife later this month. Perverting the course of justice carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, though the average term for the offence is 10 months.

Irish Independent

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