Vicky Pryce's brother appears 'like rabbit out of the hat' as defence witness in Chris Huhne speeding points case

 

Crime Correspondent

Vicky Pryce’s brother appeared for the first time at her trial like a “rabbit out of the hat” to back up her story that she was bullied into taking speeding points for her ex-husband Chris Huhne, a court heard today.

George Courmouzis, a Greece-based sports marketing expert, did not give evidence at his sister’s first trial, which ended without a jury reaching a verdict, even though he was in the country for periods of the case, Southwark Crown Court was told. Mr Courmouzis said he had not been asked.

Mr Courmouzis said that he had a conversation with his younger sister soon after the disgraced ex-Minister had been caught speeding in March 2003 and then passed responsibility for the offence to her. He told the jury of seven men and five women that his sister told him that she felt she had no option but to take the points so Huhne could avoid a speeding ban as he campaigned for a Westminster seat.

Andrew Edis, QC, for the prosecution told the jury that they should carefully consider his evidence. “He appeared like a rabbit out of a hat having been entirely silent during the first trial,” he said.

During his evidence, Mr Courmouzis said that his sister had been left frustrated that her then-husband was banned shortly after the point-swapping episode after being caught by police making a phone call while driving.

Mr Courmouzis told a jury that Ms Pryce’s decision to take her then husband’s penalty points for the 2003 speeding offence went “against the moral grain” and she was angered by his “behaviour of recklessness that was being repeated”.

Mr Courmouzis claimed that his sister had been left with no option but to take the points. “She had been nominated by him and was presented with a fait accompli, a nomination which she believed was irreversible or carried few options,” he said.

Under cross-examination from Mr Edis, Mr Courmouzis denied that he was giving evidence out of “family loyalty”.

Details of the point-swapping came only after the break-up of the couple’s marriage in 2010 following an affair between Huhne and his aide, Carina Trimingham.

The court has heard that she told journalists about how he passed on the points after being caught by a speed camera on the M11 on his way home from European Parliament in Strasbourg. The court has heard that she wanted to nail her ex-husband over his betrayal.

Ms Pryce, 60, accepts that she took her husband’s penalty points but denies perverting the course of justice. She is claiming the defence of marital coercion and says that she was subject to a sustained period of bullying by her husband.

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film Ridley Scott reveals truth behind casting decisions of Exodus
News
people
Sport
footballArsenal 2 Borussia Dortmund 0: And they can still top the group
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
filmThe singers widow and former bandmates have approved project
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
News
Albert Camus (left) and Jean-Paul Sartre fell out in 1952 and did not speak again before Camus’s death
people
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Arts and Entertainment
'Felfie' (2014) by Alison Jackson
photographyNew exhibition shows how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
News
i100
Life and Style
Fright night: the board game dates back to at least 1890
life
Environment
The vaquita is being killed by fishermen trying to catch the totoaba fish, which is prized in China
environmentJust 97 of the 'world's cutest' sea mammals remain
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?