Vicky Pryce retrial judge tells new jury that 'the slate is wiped clean' following previous failure to reach a verdict

 

The judge for the retrial of the ex-wife of disgraced MP Chris Huhne told a new jury today that the slate had been wiped clean following the failure to reach a verdict in the case last week.

Mr Justice Sweeney told the seven men and five women that juries sometimes did not reach verdicts and “it’s of no relevance whatsoever in this trial at all”.

“In this trial, the slate, as it were, is wiped clean and you judge the case afresh based only on the evidence which unfolds before you during the course of the trial,” the judge said at the start of the trial of the prominent economist Vicky Pryce.

He said the disagreement among a jury last week was “entirely irrelevant” in this case.

Mr Sweeney’s comments followed the swearing in of a new jury for the retrial of Ms Pryce, 60, who is accused of perverting the course of justice by taking her former husband’s speeding points to save him from a driving ban ten years ago.

A jury last week failed to reach a verdict in the first trial and a re-trial was ordered. A new jury was sworn in at Southwark Crown Court, London, today and the judge read out their duties before the case against Ms Pryce began.

“It is your duty to judge the case on the evidence,” said Mr Justice Sweeney. “The evidence is the evidence that you hear in this courtroom and nowhere else.”

He told the jury that they should not be influenced by anyone outside of the courtroom, including media reports, published before or during the trial. He also warned them from carrying out their own research.

He said that he had been asked by both the prosecution and defence to address the “continuing publicity as to the first trial in this case which ended last week in which the jury was unable to reach a verdict. That happens sometimes”.

Opening the case, Andrew Edis, QC, for the prosecution reiterated he judge’s comments that the jury should pay no heed to any previous publicity.

He said by the end of this trial there would be “only one question” that needed to be answered. “It might not be an easy question but I am going to suggest to you it’s not in any way, legally, a complicated case.”

Ms Pryce denies perverting the course of justice. She accepts taking her husband’s speeding points when her ex-husband was caught by a camera on the M11 in March 2003, but claims the defence of “marital coercion”.

The case continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
people
News
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
News
politicsIs David Cameron trying to prove he's down with the kids?
News
Businessman at desk circa 1950s
news
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
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
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea