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
Lois Pryce... Life Without a Postcode. Lois lives on a boat with her husband.. Registering to vote in the election has prooved to be very difficult without a fixed residential post code. (David Sandison)
newsHow living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Sport
Steven Fletcher scores the second goal for Scotland
cricketBut they have to bounce back to beat Gibraltar in Euro 2016 qualifier
News
news
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing