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Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce jailed - live
This live event has finished
- Huhne and Pryce sentenced to eight months each
- Both will serve no more than half of that
- Huhne admitted perverting the course of justice
- Pryce claimed she had been coerced into doing so by her ex-husband
- She was found guilty following a retrial last week
Huhne says 'sorry':
#Huhne “Of course I do not want to go to prison. Losing freedom hurts, but I will not be the first person to go to prison”.— @patrickwintour 11 March 2013
Read the judges full comments as he sent the pair to prison:
Huhne's partner Carina Trimingham leaves the court room with her head lowered.
High drama as Eastleigh's MP begins his jail term for perverting the course of justice.
Huhne and Pryce are led down with Pryce nodding and smiling to the judge as she leaves. Huhne picked up his bag and coat and left without showing emotion.
His partner, Carina Trimingham, is in tears in the public gallery.
Neither has shown great emotion since the sentences were handed out as talks over costs are discussed.
Pryce jailed for eight months, and will also serve half.
He sits and Pryce stands.
"Huhne the more culpable" judge says. "You too have fallen from a considerable height"
Huhne sentenced to eight months and will serve half.
Huhne stands: the offence was "your idea" judge says.
"You have fallen from a great height".
"Any element of tragedy is entirely your own fault," he tells pair.
Huhne will receive 10 per cent discount on sentence. Judge says it is "easy" to say sorry now.
He then compounded those lies by trying to have case thrown out, judge says.
Huhne tried to "lie his way out of trouble" says the judge.
Tells Pryce that Huhne's affair and marriage break down must have been "horrendous".
She then set about on an "implacable desire for revenge" to "ruin" her ex-husband.
"No doubt you thought you would get away with it," he said.
And they did for eight years, the judge says, with Huhne later becoming MP and cabinet member - supported by Pryce.
Mr Justice Sweeney: the pair "acted together" to pervert the course of justice.
Here's the judge. He's going back over the case.
Silence in court 3 and a real sense of nervous tension as the judge continues to consider the sentences.
Lawyers are gathering again in court three and both Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce have taken their seats in the dock.
Huhne and Pryce both seated. Pryce fiddling with pen while Huhne is staring straight ahead with his leg crossed.
Huhne and Pryce have left the dock and the judge will retire to consider his sentence. He won't sit until 4.30pm at the earliest.
We have heard some heartfelt submissions from the legal teams involved at the end of what has been a dramatic case from start to finish.
Costs issue looks set to be adjourned so both parties can "thrash out" their dispute.
"Nobody has ever lost more so publicly and with such vilification for an offence of perverting the course of justice by points swapping," the barrister says.
Kelsey-Fry says Huhne has kept a "dignified silence about what has been said about him" during Pryce trial and retrial.
Adds that his offence was "wholly at odds" with Huhne's character.
Chris #Huhne: ready for his close-up outside Southwark Crown Court. http://t.co/UL6VXG6y3A— @davidsim 11 March 2013
"He has a reputation for being an extremely able and hard working MP," Mr Luffman writes.
Describes him as "such a good constituency MP".
Writes that Huhne once spent 50 hours sorting out a constituent's problem and "refused to give up" until it was resolved - despite being busy with national issues.
Mr Luffman says Huhne is a man "without airs and graces".
"We are losing a true champion of the people," Mr Luffman writes.
Extraordinary letter being read out from Eastleigh Labour stalwart Brian Luffman in support of Huhne.
Expect others have tweeted the old proverb in relation to #Pryce and #Huhne but; 'Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves'— @mrjohnofarrell 11 March 2013
Huhne has during the weeks of Pryce's trials woken up thinking he was going to jail.
He is a man "laid bare" but hoping for reconciliation with members of his family.
Also refutes "in the most strenuous terms" claims he put pressure on his wife over unplanned pregnancy.
Mr Kelsey-Fry says his client eventually "fell on his sword" in pleading guilty.
Kelsey-Fry QC on Huhne's initial denial of offence:
"For this denial he wishes to apologise to his friends and former colleagues, to his former constituents and most importantly to the court."
Says he cherished his role as Eastleigh MP and has undergone "vilification" in the media.
Huhne's barrister John Kelsey-Fry QC says the former MP has "in truth only himself to blame" and accepts that it was his fault.
But denies he coerced her to take speeding points.
He asks the judge to keep any custodial sentence for Pryce as short as possible if he is minded to impose one.
Adds that she found elements of pre-trial legal arguments "extremely unpleasant".
Knowles tells of client's concern on learning she might receive "forensic annihilation" in the witness box during proceedings.
"The pressure and stress to which she has been subjected far exceeds the normal level," he tells court.
Knowles says Pryce committed the offence "under pressure applied by Mr Huhne".
Mr Knowles QC asks judge to consider that Pryce's offence was at the "lower end of the scale".
Mr Knowles QC says his client's health has suffered during trial while one family member has also undergone a "traumatic operation" during proceedings.
Her reputation has been "spoiled" Julian Knowles QC says.
Pryce has undergone "suffering and distress" in recent times.
She became a "figure of mockery and ridicule", Mr Knowles tells court.
He points to her public service and charity work over the years including role with 'Good Corporation'.
Pryce resigned from her job at a consulting firm after her conviction last week.
Pryce's barrister urges Mr Justice Sweeney to show "Leniency" and hand out suspended jail sentence.
Says there are "special and unique" features of her case and that she resigned from her consultancy job after conviction last week.
Both Huhne and Pryce listening intently and seem calm at present.
No previous convictions - except Huhne's driving offences, Mr Edis says.
However, there are disputes between crown and defence over costs, Mr Edis tells court.
Police investigation costs claim against Huhne will be £31,000, the court hears.
Cost for Huhne was £79,015, Pryce's £38,544, says Andrew Edis QC.
Cost to crown of prosecuting Huhne and Pryce: £117,558
Edis reminds court of dramatic day when Huhne pleaded guilty, resigning as MP for Eastleigh.
If you'd like to know more about the seldom-used marital coercion defence that Vicky Pryce used during her trial, you can do so in the article below:
Here is a timeline of the events which have led to Huhne and Pryce facing a possible jail sentence today:
It has taken ten minutes for everyone to be seated. The seats which are usually reserved for the jury are filled with reporters, such is the huge amount of interest in the sentencing.
Court reminded of text conversation between Huhne and his son Peter.
The court is played a taped conversation between Huhne and Pryce which was carried out in a bid to get the former energy secretary to admit to the speeding points swap.
Huhne listening in with legs crossed. Pryce taking notes as details of their crime are explained to the court.
Edis recounting how Huhne's black BMW was pictured by speed camera on M11 2003 travelling over 50mph speed limit.
The scenes as Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce arrived for sentencing.
The hearing begins.
The pair stand to confirm their names and Andrew Edis QC is outlining the case.
And now he arrives. The pair do not exchange eye contact or any words. They sit one seat apart.
Huhne wearing dark suit and white shirt. Court room silent.
Huhne's legal team, including his barrister John Kelsey-Fry, has arrived at court three.
Vicky Pryce is in the dock wearing a dark suit and grey scarf. Huhne yet to arrive.
Crown prosecutor Andrew Edis QC has fought his way through the queue outside to enter court three.
Vicky Pryce's lawyer Julian Knowles QC arrived at the court on his own in a London black cab around half an hour ago.
Sentencing is due to get underway at 2pm but 50 members of press and public already waiting to be let into court three.
There is already a huge media presence outside awaiting the arrival of the former Eastleigh MP and his former wife.
Inside Southwark Crown Court, a queue is already forming outside court three.
Julian Robinson reports:
It was a court case that started a year ago, has involved two trials, prompted the resignation of a Hampshire MP and sparked the most fiercely contested by-election in recent times.
But today, amid Arctic conditions in central London, the bitter feud involving Chris Huhne and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce finally comes to its conclusion.
In an hour's time, the pair will stand together in the dock and face sentencing for perverting the course of justice.
The pair are expected to face jail.
The Daily Echo's Julian Robinson is at court and will be providing live updates direct from the hearing when it begins.
The sentencing is due to start at 2pm.
Once Mr Justice Sweeney has handed down the sentences to Huhne and Pryce, we will open the blog up to comments from readers.
Nameless but helpful person has provided two leading cases on sentencing, re #Huhne #Pyce http://t.co/jRqMqosVBg and http://t.co/V3MyaPcBwb— @DavidAllenGreen 11 March 2013
A sentence of 12 months of more would have the effect of prohibiting Huhne of taking a seat in parliament for the duration of the sentence.
However, since as he resigned his seat the day after admitting perverting the course of justice, this restriction is irrelevant.
The offence of perverting the course of justice carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, with an average sentence of around 10 months.
After an initial trial which ended with the jury being sent home after being unable to come to any sort of verdict, Pryce was last week found guilty of perverting the course of justice during the retrial at Southwark Crown Court.
Pryce admitted taking the points on behalf of Huhne, but used an old defence of marital coercion, saying that the Liberal Democrat had forced his then wife to take the points to avoid him losing his driving licence.
The pair had been due to stand trial together, after Huhne had been accused of making Pryce take some points on her driving licence for a speeding offence in 2003, but after years of protesting his innocence, Huhne suddenly changed his plea at the start of the trial, admitting the offence.
He then resigned his seat in parliament as representative of Eastleigh, sparking last month's by-election.
Good afternoon and welcome to the Daily Echo's live blog covering the sentencing of former Eastleigh MP, Chris Huhne, and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce, for perverting the course of justice.