Constance Briscoe retrial after jury fails to reach verdict


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The Independent Online

Constance Briscoe, a part-time judge, faces a retrial over charges that she lied to police investigating the Chris Huhne speeding points case after the jury failed to reach a verdict.

Ms Briscoe  a 56-year-old barrister, from Clapham, south west London, is accused of providing police with two inaccurate statements about her role as an intermediary between then Energy Secretary Chris Huhne's estranged wife Vicky Pryce and reporters in revealing details of the speeding points saga.

It is claimed that Briscoe misled police in two witness statements made on 31 May 2011 and 16 August 2012.

She is also accused of producing an altered copy of a statement and then deliberately getting a document expert to view the wrong version of the statement.

Ms Briscoe denies three counts of intending to pervert the course of justice. She has been suspended since her arrest in October 2012.

The jury of six women and five men had been deliberating since Wednesday at Southwark Crown Court but were discharged after failing to reach verdicts on any counts.

The jury was reduced from 12 to 11 earlier this week after one member was discharged for personal reasons, but after 13 hours of deliberations could not reach verdicts, despite being told they could find majority verdicts of 10-1.

A date for the re-trial has not yet been fixed. Ms Briscoe was given unconditional bail.

During the trial, which started on 14 January, the jury heard that Briscoe helped economist Pryce, who was a friend and also her neighbour, to reveal information about the points-swapping scandal to newspapers after she and Huhne separated in 2010.

The scandal eventually lead to Huhne's resignation and subsequent prosecution. He pleaded guilty in February last year, while Pryce was convicted after a trial. Both have now served jail sentences.

Additional reporting by Press Association