The high-profile barrister accused of lying to police about her contacts with the media over a plot to bring down the politician Chris Huhne claimed to have been approached by a reporter investigating the former minister’s alleged “liaisons with men”, a court was told.
Constance Briscoe, 56, denied speaking to a reporter about Mr Huhne’s decision to pass speeding points to his then-wife Vicky Pryce in 2003 – which led to his eventual political downfall and jailing last year.
However, she told officers she was approached by a journalist from the Mail on Sunday, David Dillon, who was looking into claims that Ms Pryce once broke off her engagement to Mr Huhne after he apparently confessed he had had liaisons or relationships with other men, Southwark Crown Court heard. Mr Dillon was also examining claims that he had infected his wife with pubic lice.
Ms Briscoe is accused of three counts of intending to pervert the course of justice over claims that she lied in police statements about her contacts with the media over the speeding points story. The court heard she had been due to be a witness in the prosecution of Mr Huhne and his wife but was dropped when questions emerged about her role in passing details of the offence to newspapers in an attempt to bring him down.
In a video-recorded interview after her arrest, Ms Briscoe said: “Dillon had contacted me, and he had certainly contacted Vicky. There was an occasion where they were looking at various stories about Chris Huhne. They were looking at the speeding story, and that I couldn’t assist them on, but there were other stories as well that the papers, in particular Mr Dillon, were interested in.
“One of the stories that Mr Dillon was interested in was he had discovered somehow that Vicky Pryce had called off her engagement, or whatever it was … because Chris Huhne had said to Vicky that he had had liaisons, whatever you want to call it, with men.” But Ms Briscoe told the court she knew nothing about the claims.
The barrister is alleged to have misled police officers in two statements and tampered with one to back up her version of events. She denied speaking to journalists about the speeding points in her police statement, but emails later emerged suggesting she had been in contact with the Mail on Sunday, jurors heard. She denies all charges.
The case continues.