Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce sentenced to eight months jail
Judge tells MP and former wife 'tragedy' of their trial and conviction is 'entirely' their fault
DISGRACED former Cabinet minister Chris Huhne and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce have both been sentenced to eight months in jail for perverting the course of justice after agreeing to swap speeding points in 2003.
Huhne, 58, and Pryce, 60, sat impassively in the dock at Southwark Crown Court this afternoon as a judge told them: “Any element of tragedy is entirely your own fault."
Justice Sweeney said the former Liberal Democrat MP and energy secretary had repeatedly lied to try to get himself out of trouble. In his opinion, Huhne was "somewhat but not greatly … more culpable" than his former wife, but his sentence had been reduced from nine months to eight because he entered a guilty plea.
Huhne and Pryce will probably serve only two months of their eight month sentences in prison. The judge said they would be released on licence halfway through their sentence but would also be eligible for earlier release under supervision, The Guardian said.
Judge Sweeney told Pryce that she had been motivated by "an implacable desire for revenge" when she set out to bring down her former husband by revealing they had swapped speeding points ten years ago. During the trial, Pryce had shown “a controlling, manipulative and devious side" to her nature, he said. She had “sought to manipulate and control the press" so as to achieve her "dual objective" of bringing down Huhne and not implicating herself.
In the end, Justice Sweeney said, one of the few good things that had emerged from the highly publicised, highly damaging case that laid bare the deep rifts between Huhne, Pryce and their children, was “…that now finally you have both been brought to justice".
During today’s sentencing hearing, the CPS revealed that it had spent £79,014 prosecuting Huhne and £38,544 pursuing the case against Pryce. The organisation has indicated it wants to recover the full amount spent bringing the disgraced MP to justice.
Huhne, who wore a dark suit and dark tie and brought an overnight bag to court, did not speak at today’s hearing. He remained motionless as he became the first former Cabinet minister since Jonathan Aitken to be sent to prison.
His lawyer, John Kelsey-Fry QC, told the court that his client had “two things left to cling to" - the support of his partner, Carina Trimingham, and a possible reconciliation with his children. Huhne also apologised, via his lawyer, to his constituents, to the court and his colleagues in politics.
Both Huhne and Pryce, who sat separated by a single chair in the dock, looked close to tears at times. Huhne occasionally glanced at his former wife, but they did not speak.
During mitigation pleas at today’s hearing, Huhne's lawyer said that his client had already suffered "the direst consequences for this aberrant behaviour ten years ago" and urged the judge to give him the shortest sentence possible. He added that Huhne had done the honourable thing and "fallen on his sword" by pleading guilty and avoiding the "bloodbath" of a trial.
But the prosecuting counsel, Andrew Edis, attacked Huhne's conduct of his defence as "scandalous" and accused him of "highly selective amnesia" when interviewed by the police. The judge, unsurprisingly, paid more heed to Edis's arguments, says the New Statesman.