Pryce speed points jury discharged

Andover Advertiser: Vicky Pryce denied perverting the course of justice on the grounds of marital coercion Vicky Pryce denied perverting the course of justice on the grounds of marital coercion

The jury in the trial of disgraced MP Chris Huhne's ex-wife has been discharged after failing to reach a verdict in her trial for perverting the course of justice by taking his speeding points a decade ago.

Vicky Pryce, 60, of Clapham, south London, denied the charge, claiming Huhne coerced her into taking the points.

The jury of eight women and four men was discharged at Southwark Crown Court in London after telling trial judge Mr Justice Sweeney it was "highly unlikely" that even a majority verdict would be reached.

Mr Justice Sweeney told the jury: "I have received your note which indicates that it is 'highly unlikely' that you are going to reach even a majority verdict. I am grateful for that.

"Against the background of the length of time that you have been in retirement already, I have decided therefore, and it is my decision one way or the other, that I must discharge you from any further deliberations. That means that your role in this case is now over."

A retrial is anticipated to start on Monday, the court heard, and Huhne, who has already pleaded guilty, will not be sentenced until after that retrial.

The allegation dates back to 2003, when Huhne's BMW was clocked speeding on the way from Stansted Airport as the then-MEP travelled back from Strasbourg.

He already had nine points on his licence and risked being banned - which he feared would affect his chances of being nominated as the Lib Dem candidate for Eastleigh, Hampshire.

Pryce, who had a clean licence at the time, said he forced her to take the points, waving a pen at her in their hallway as he forced her to sign a form confirming she committed the offence. The jury heard Pryce confided in her daughter Georgia Beesley at the time, saying Huhne had pestered her into taking the points.

The allegation about the speeding points became public in May 2011 when it was published in two Sunday newspapers - nearly a year after Huhne ended his 26-year marriage to Pryce, confessing to an affair with PR adviser Carina Trimingham.

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