Vicky Pryce faces retrial on Monday after jury failed to reach verdict

 

The ex-wife of disgraced MP Chris Huhne faces a retrial on Monday after a jury was discharged for failing to reach a verdict in her trial for perverting the course of justice after taking speeding points for him.

Vicky Pryce, 60, will return to court next week after the jury said it was “highly unlikely” that they would be able to reach a majority verdict after more than 15 hours of consideration.

Ms Pryce, a prominent economist, had denied the charge claiming that she only signed the police document naming her as the driver for the 2003 offence after a campaign of bullying from the former Energy Minister. She had claimed the defence of marital coercion.

A new jury is due to be sworn in next week after the current panel of eight women and four men were discharged from duty on their fourth day of deliberations after the short trial.

The trial judge, Mr Justice Sweeney, told the jury this morning that they could come to a majority verdict of 10-2 after answering a series of questions put sent to him yesterday (Tues). They included the question: “Can a juror come to a verdict based on a reason that was not presented in court and has no facts or evidence to support it either from the prosecution or the defence?”

The judge told the jury: “The answer to that question is, firmly, no.”

The jury returned this afternoon to say that they could not come to a verdict. “Against the background of the length of time that you have been in retirement already, I have decided therefore, and it is my decision one way or the other, that I must discharge you from any further deliberations,” said the judge.

“That means that your role in this case is now over.”

Ms Pryce showed little emotion as the judge discharged the jury and sat with her chin in her hand. Huhne, who admitted the charge on the first day of the trial more than two weeks ago, will be sentenced at a later date.

The allegation against her dates back to 2003 when the former politician’s BMW was clocked speeding at nearly 20 mph over the speed limit on the M11 as he returned from a stint at the European parliament.

He already had nine points and faced a certain ban just as he was campaigning for the nomination for the Hampshire seat of Eastleigh, the court heard, and was worried about the damage to his reputation.

Ms Pryce told the jury that she felt that she had no choice but to sign the forms taking responsibility under pressure from her husband. The points swapping only came to light following the break-up of the couple’s 26-year marriage in 2010 when Huhne’s revealed a long-time relationship with aide Carina Trimingham.

The trial heard she spent months trying to reveal the points-swapping to the media so she could “nail” her husband in revenge for his infidelity.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Legendary blues and rock singer Joe Cocker has died of lung cancer, his management team as confirmed. He was 70
people70-year-old was most famous for 'You are So Beautiful'
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballLatest score and Twitter updates
Arts and Entertainment
David Hasselhof in Peter Pan
The US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
Life and Style
A still from a scene cut from The Interview showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's death.
tech
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'