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.

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
people

Former boxer recalls incident when he was seven years old

Sport
A Rutherford Raiders shirt with the PornHub sponsorship
football

News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Charlie Sheen said he would
tv

Charlie Sheen could be set to revive his role as a hedonistic womaniser

Life and Style
Jamie Oliver’s version of Jollof rice led thousands of people to post angry comments on his website
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
glastonbury
News
Apple CEO Timothy Cook
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Vividly drawn: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’
film

Review: Mike Leigh's biopic is a rambling, rich character study

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

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes