Chris Huhne fights £100,000 court bill over Vicky Pryce points-swapping case

The former Liberal Democrat minister is serving an eight-month prison sentence for perverting the course of justice

The jailed ex-Cabinet Minister Chris Huhne returned to court today to fight a £100,000 claim for police costs and legal fees racked up before he admitted his role in covering up a decade-old driving offence.

Huhne’s legal team offered to pay less than a quarter of the £108,000 sought by the prosecution, which launched further inquiries after he claimed that his vengeful ex-wife had cooked up a story that he had passed his speeding penalty points to her.

The former politician had maintained his innocence up to the moment that his trial was due to start in March, when he pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.

Both he, and his wife Vicky Pryce, 61, who was found guilty after a second trial, were jailed for eight months. They are both expected to be released on an electronic tag next month after serving a quarter of their sentence.

The legal wrangling continued yesterday as a judge was asked to consider how much each of them had to pay to cover the costs of preparing the case.

The prosecution sought £48,695 from his wife and £108,539 from Mr Huhne because of the extra costs totted up as he tried to get the case thrown out of court.

The former Energy Secretary, wearing a blue suit and tie, was brought from the open prison in Gloucestershire where he is serving his sentence, for the hearing at Southwark Crown Court. His ex-wife did not attend.

“We have said his abuse of process argument which he ran vigorously, until he lost, at great cost to the public purse was based on a lie,” said Andrew Edis, QC, counsel for the prosecution. “That’s why all this money against him has been spent. He didn’t have to do that – but he did.”

Allegations were made by his legal team against the “probity and competence” of the prosecution and police, which led to officers’ telephone records being trawled.

“All of that was his free choice and it carries a bill,” said Mr Edis. “That bill is £108,539.”

Mr Huhne’s legal team said that police only uncovered potential wrong-doing after they pushed for further inquiries.

Mr Huhne passed his speeding points to his ex-wife after he was caught by a speeding camera on the M11 in May 2003 and was facing a driving ban while he campaigned for his first Westminster seat. Vicky Pryce went public with the allegations following the acrimonious break-up of their marriage in 2010. It sparked a police investigation, forced Mr Huhne to quit his Cabinet job and then lost his liberty in March.

The trial judge, Mr Justice Sweeney, will rule on the level of costs next week.

The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
Life and Style

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album