Speed Trap: Leading Economist and MP Face Jail In Expanding Scandal Over A Speeding Ticket

220px-Chris_Huhne_MP_cropThere is a verdict in the trial of economist Vicky Pryce, 60, the wife of former cabinet minister Chris Huhne (left). Pryce raised a “marital coercion” defense in saying that her husband coerced her to lie and take his speeding points 10 years ago. It is a bizarre case, not only because you have a successful woman claiming that she was coerced into this act, but also the level of prosecution over that taking of speeding points.

Pryce was reportedly shocked that her claim of spousal coercion failed after she was convicted of perverting the course of justice. The jury clearly decided that she was lying and I can understand why. Pryce’s defense is a slap in the face of any modern woman and seemed ill-suited for the former joint head of the government economic service and a leading candidate for the Bank of England monetary policy committee and the House of Lords. Yet, Pryce insisted that she was fearful and coerced by former energy secretary Huhne, 58, when he allegedly asked her to take his points after a speeding incident — points that might have faced a driving ban. Pryce signed a statement that it was her driving Huhne’s black BMW.

Her husband pleaded guilty a few weeks ago and resigned as a MP. Pryce was tried once before but the first jury was discharged after failing to reach a verdict.

Huhne’s fall is quite a nose bleed. A former British cabinet minister, he was appointed Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change in the coalition government in 2010.

In an added twist, Pryce reported set out to get the points story into the media as revenge for an infidelity scandal involving her husband. She allegedly first tried to say that he had a constituent take the blame, but then recorded conversations where she tried to get Huhne to incriminate himself.

After Pryce’s conviction, emails were published that showed that Pryce told business secretary Vince Cable, the senior Lib Dem peer Lord Oakeshott and his wife Rachel, over supper. “They were horrified at the time but VC has probably forgotten it by now. He was v tired that night,” Pryce wrote. Cable and his wife have denied any memory of the disclosure. The emails suggest that other powerful figures were told by Pryce, who does not appear to have been so coerced that she kept any of this a secret. Now, the act of taking points for a spouse has resulted in not just two prosecutions but an expanding political scandal. Moreover, Pryce was represented by barrister and part-time judge, Constance Briscoe, 55, who herself now may face charges over her involvement in the case. Prosecutors say that Briscoe knew in 2003 that Pryce lied but was released as a “witness of truth.” However, she was arrested after allegedly lying to police by claiming to have had no dealings with newspapers over the speeding story. Again, this is a difference with the states in criminalizing a media contact. The English system is far more restrictive on the media on stories related to a trial. Now, she is facing trial and a host of prominent English figures are under scrutiny regarding their knowledge. All over a case of speeding.

Pryce, mother of five, is now looking at between four and 36 months as the common range for incarceration on such charges.

Another difference with the system in the states is that, because Huhne changed his plea on the first day of their joint trial, the prosecution wants him to pay the full costs of the case against him. That could reach as much as £200,000. We have previously discussed the “English Rule” in forcing the losing party to pay the other side’s cost — a rule that I have long criticized as favoring corporations and powerful individuals. This shows the flip side of the coin where criminal costs are imposed for simply pleading guilty.

Once again, all of this began with a simple speeding citation.

Source: Guardian

7 thoughts on “Speed Trap: Leading Economist and MP Face Jail In Expanding Scandal Over A Speeding Ticket”

  1. Sounds about right

    In a book Holdren co-authored in 1977, the man who is now firmly in control of science policy in this country wrote

    Women could be forced to abort their pregnancies, whether they wanted to or not
    The population at large could be sterilized by infertility drugs intentionally put into the nation’s drinking water or in food
    Single mothers and teen mothers should have their babies seized from them against their will and given away to other couples to raise
    People who “contribute to social deterioration” (i.e. undesirables) “can be required by law to exercise reproductive responsibility” — in other words, be compelled to have abortions or be sterilized.
    A transnational “Planetary Regime” should assume control of the global economy and also dictate the most intimate details of Americans’ lives — using an armed international police force.

    Overpopulation was an early concern and interest. In a 1969 article, Holdren and co-author Paul R. Ehrlich argued, “if the population control measures are not initiated immediately, and effectively, all the technology man can bring to bear will not fend off the misery to come.”[21] In 1973, Holdren encouraged a decline in fertility to well below replacement in the United States, because “210 million now is too many and 280 million in 2040 is likely to be much too many.”[22] In 1977, Paul R. Ehrlich, Anne H. Ehrlich, and Holdren co-authored the textbook Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment; they discussed the possible role of a wide variety of solutions to overpopulation, from voluntary family planning to enforced population controls, including compulsory abortion, adding sterilants to drinking water or staple foods, forced sterilization for women after they gave birth to a designated number of children, and discussed “the use of milder methods of influencing family size preferences” such as access to birth control and abortion.[12][23] [24]


  2. A woman scorned……..all his problems began when he “cheated” on her. But he´s a politician so she should have known better. And she´s a woman who wanted to be married to a politician, so she shouldn´t have been surprised.

  3. “The Best and the Brightest (1972) is an account by journalist David Halberstam”

    Hello, HELLO!, oh where oh where have the B&B gone, oh where oh where can they be?

    Clowns to the Left, Clowns to the Right, stuck in the middle with yous (and sinking fast).

  4. What would the harm been if they had just owned up to the issue? The worst case scenario was that he has to get a driver ? Yikes.

  5. Re defense pays.

    While we have a lot of frivolous court cases here in the US (to say nothing of many unnecessary cases), the “little person” does have legal alternatives.

    In Europe, the standard is for the ordinary citizen to “take it”, because the consequences of losing (which happens to even the best cases), are prohibitive.

    To paraphrase Thucydides: “…the rich do what they can and the poor suffer what they must.”

  6. Come on…. But if they’ll do this to over a speeding ticket…. Maybe we have hope that Bush et al… I think public integrity is the word…..

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