Shamed minister's ex-wife in the dock
CHRIS HUHNE's ex-wife Vicky Pryce told the press she took his speeding points in a bid to "nail him" and destroy his career in revenge for him leaving her for another woman, a court heard yesterday.
Former Lib Dem energy secretary Huhne was clocked speeding in March 2003 and persuaded his then wife Pryce to take his points so he could avoid losing his licence.
The news later emerged in national newspapers, sparking a lengthy investigation which, until Monday, Huhne denied.
Pryce is currently standing trial accused of perverting the course of justice after Huhne dramatically changed his plea to guilty on Monday, ending his political career.
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Pryce, 60, denies the charge of perverting the course of justice but has adopted a defence of marital coercion, saying Huhne persuaded her to take the points.
Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC told the jury at Southwark Crown Court in London the points-swapping only came to light in 2010/2011 when Pryce told several newspapers in a bid to ruin her former husband's career after he left her for his former press adviser Carina Trimingham.
Mr Edis told the jury of eight women and four men they would have to decide whether Pryce, an economist and senior civil servant, was "weak-minded" and forced by Huhne into accepting the points or was a "strong-minded and manipulative" woman acting of her own free will.
"Focus not on whether she was persuaded but whether she was in a situation where she had a choice," he said.
He added: "Her revenge in the end was to pass the story of the 2003 points to the newspaper so they would publish it and destroy his political career.
"It was Pryce's plan that she would get her revenge by putting an end to all that (his career).
"She would publish what she and he had done together without complaint in 2003 so she would get her revenge for the undoubtedly very bad way he had treated her."
Eventually, Mr Edis said, her plan worked.
At the start of yesterday's hearing, which came in the wake of Huhne's shock confession on Monday, Mr Edis told jurors Pryce had agreed to "play ball" and take the points for Huhne when he was caught in 2003.
But he said she would now use a special legal defence available only to wives, saying that she was coerced by him into taking them.
Pryce's trial will continue on Thursday.