Ex-wife of disgraced UK minister, guilty

2013-03-07 22:13
Vicky Pryce (Justin Tallis, AFP)

Vicky Pryce (Justin Tallis, AFP)

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London - The ex-wife of a disgraced British politician was found guilty on Thursday of perverting the course of justice by taking penalty points on her driving licence in 2003 for a speeding offence he had committed.

Liberal Democrat Chris Huhne, who resigned from his cabinet post as energy secretary in February 2012 when he and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce were both charged over the 2003 points deception, had pleaded guilty to the charge on 4 February.

Pryce, a former joint head of the British government's economic service, had pleaded not guilty, arguing that Huhne had coerced her into taking his penalty points so he could avoid a driving ban.

Huhne already had penalty points on his licence at the time while Pryce did not, so she was not at risk of a ban.

Pryce's first trial ended last week when the jury were unable to agree on a verdict. After a retrial, a new jury rejected Pryce's defence of "marital coercion", convicting her unanimously.

Huhne and Pryce now both face jail sentences.

The 2003 points deception remained a family secret until Huhne and Pryce's 26-year marriage broke down in bitter acrimony in 2010 when he left her for a younger, bisexual woman and the details were splashed all over the newspapers.

Months later, Pryce told two newspapers about the speeding points in what the prosecution at her trial described as an act of revenge designed to destroy Huhne's career.

The first media reports about the points appeared in May 2011 and the police then started investigating the matter.

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