Vicky Pryce 'not telling the truth' over Chris Huhne speeding points-swap crime, court told

 

Crime Correspondent

Vicky Pryce was today accused of cooking up a story with a barrister friend to protect her from prosecution by saying she had been bullied into accepting speeding points by her ex-husband Chris Huhne, the disgraced MP.

The court was told that Ms Pryce, 60, took legal advice and requested “added legal protection” before revealing the point-swapping crime to the media in an act of revenge after Huhne ended their 26-year marriage.

Emails between Pryce and the political editor of the Sunday Times revealed she was taking advice from Constance Briscoe – a part-time judge who was also a neighbour – while a contract was drawn up before she went public with the claims. In one email, Ms Pryce said she was considering changing the wording because of fears of repercussions against her, the court heard.

“The point re the “pressurised” is to give me added legal protection,” she wrote to journalist Isabel Oakeshott two days before the story first ran in the newspaper. She sent another email a day later and said Ms Briscoe was “relaxed” about the contract and it did not need major changes, Southwark Crown Court was told. “You and her [Ms Briscoe] have cooked up a dishonest defence for you, that’s right?” said prosecutor Andrew Edis, QC. “No, it’s not right,” she said.

The court earlier heard Ms Briscoe – a best-selling writer – was arrested and is under police investigation for allegedly lying in a statement about her links with the media. She was also dropped as a witness in the case.

Ms Pryce accepts she took the points for her ex-husband after Huhne was caught by a speeding camera in March 2003 and faced a driving ban, but denies perverting the course of justice. She claims she was bullied by Huhne into taking the points and is claiming the defence of “marital coercion”. Ms Pryce, an economist, has told the court she felt she had no choice but to sign police forms nominating her as the driver after she was called to the hallway of their London home by Huhne who stood with a pen in his hand and demanded she signed.

“You never told anybody at all when you were giving your story to people about the incident in the hallway with the pen, did you?” Mr Edis asked. Ms Pryce said she had not told anyone as it was “embarrassing” and not vital to the story. “In my mind, it meant if you are the victim of doing something you don’t want to do under pressure, then you haven’t necessarily committed a crime.”

The court heard Ms Pryce did not comment in police interviews. Mr Edis said: “If you are telling the truth now the only sensible course was to tell the police then – you didn’t and that’s because you are not telling the truth now.” She said: “That’s not the case, I took advice from my lawyers.”

Huhne last month pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and resigned as MP for Eastleigh. He will be sentenced later. The case continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore