'No doubt you thought that you would get away with it,' judge tells Chris Huhne and Vicky Price

Judge's statement

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The Independent Online

Vicky Pryce and Chris Huhne, in the spring of 2003 you had been married for nearly 20 years. You had, between you, five children. You each had a stellar career.

But you also had a problem. For the fourth time in just over a year you, Chris Huhne, had been caught speeding. You were, at that time, involved in a contest to gain the Lib Dem nomination for the Eastleigh constituency, and I have no doubt that both of you were concerned that the loss of your licence might damage your image. Equally I have no doubt that, in any event, you were both concerned as to the inconvenience to you – Vicky Pryce – in particular of taking on all the marital and parental driving duties.

Thus it was that, acting together, out of the combination, I have no doubt, of a shared ambition as to the further success of Chris Huhne’s political career, and a shared desire not to suffer inconvenience, you decided not to tell the truth, but instead to pervert the course of justice. No doubt you thought that you would get away with it. And you did get away with it for some eight years.

At some point you, Chris Huhne, began an affair. In November 2010, motivated (I have no doubt) by an implacable desire for revenge, and with little consideration of the position of your wider family, you, Vicky Pryce, decided to set about the dual objective of ruining Chris Huhne whilst protecting your own position. Your weapon of choice was the revelation of his part in the offence in 2003. But it was a dangerous weapon because it had, in truth, been a joint offence.

Despite your high office you, Chris Huhne, tried to lie your way out of trouble by claiming that you were innocent, by repeating that lie again and again during your extensive interviews by the police. You then compounded those lies.

Once charged, you, Vicky Pryce, pursued your false defence of marital coercion. In doing so, just as you did in your dealings with the media, you have demonstrated that there is a controlling manipulative and devious side to your nature. However, ultimately, the good sense of the jury saw through you.

To the extent that anything good has come out of this whole process, it is that now, finally, you have both been brought to justice for your joint offence. Any element of tragedy is entirely your own fault.

This is an edited extract from Mr Justice Sweeney’s sentencing remarks.