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
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones