Ex-wife of UK minister guilty of obstructing justice

7th March 2013, Comments 0 comments

The ex-wife of Britain's disgraced former energy minister Chris Huhne was found guilty on Thursday of perverting the course of justice, in a case that ended his political career.

A jury convicted Vicky Pryce, a 60-year-old Greek-born economist, of taking speeding points for her former husband in an incident ten years ago.

Huhne admitted the same charge at an earlier hearing and the pair both face possible jail terms when they are sentenced at a later date.

Pryce stood open-mouthed in the dock as the jury at Southwark Crown Court in London unanimously rejected her defence of marital coercion.

A jury in Pryce's original trial last month failed to reach a verdict, prompting a retrial.

Judge Nigel Sweeney said Pryce should be under "no illusions" about the likelihood of a stretch in prison despite the fact that he was granting her bail until sentencing.

The charges relate to an incident in March 2003 when Huhne's car was caught by a speed camera as it travelled between Stansted Airport near London and the capital.

Pryce used the defence of marital coercion, claiming Huhne forced her to accept the points on her licence because he would have been banned from driving if he had taken them.

The couple went through a bitter divorce in 2011 after 26 years of marriage during which they had three children together.

Huhne left Pryce in 2010 for Carina Trimingham, a staff member on his general election campaign that same year.

Pryce then took the story about the speeding points to a British newspaper, only to see both her and Huhne charged with perverting the course of justice.

Huhne -- a former leadership candidate among the Liberal Democrats, the junior partners in Britain's coalition government -- stood down from the cabinet last year.

He resigned his seat in parliament on February 5.

The Liberal Democrats held the seat in a by-election on February 28 in which the anti-EU UK Independence Party beat Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives into third place.

© 2013 AFP

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