Chris Huhne's ex-wife Vicky Pryce among 'most powerful, talented and intelligent women in the country'

Vicky Pryce

Vicky Pryce

First published in Crime
Last updated

Chris Huhne's ex-wife was ''one of the most powerful, talented, intelligent and trusted women in the country'' and would not have been forced into taking his speeding points, a court heard today.

Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC said Vicky Pryce had taken points for Huhne in 2003 because she chose to do so, not because she was coerced and she was not someone who could be reduced to a ''quivering jelly''.

Pryce denies perverting the course of justice, using a rare defence of marital coercion, at Southwark Crown Court.

Her trial has heard she claimed Huhne first nominated her to take the points so he could avoid losing his licence, and then stood in their hallway waving a pen at her demanding that she sign a form confirming it was her.

Pryce, 60, of Crescent Grove, Clapham, south London, leaked the scandal to newspapers in 2011, after Huhne left her the previous year for PR adviser Carina Trimingham, in a bid to ''nail'' him, the court has heard.

In his closing speech, Mr Edis today said: ''The position is this. One of the most powerful, talented, intelligent and trusted women in the country wishes you to think that when she took some points for her husband in 2003 she had no real choice in doing so.

''It is the prosecution's function, if they can, to disprove that before she can be convicted.

''There's no doubt that she took his points, there's no doubt that that's a crime.

''It's only not a crime in her case if the special defence available to wives - marital coercion - applies in her case and it applies in her case if the prosecution fail to make you sure of two things.

''First, that the offence was committed voluntarily, that is to say, she had choices available to her. She had not had her 'will overborne' by pressure from her husband.

''He may have been trying to pressure her, he may have wanted her to do as she did, he may have been very persuasive, but that isn't what this case is actually about.

''The question is whether he was able, by things that he did or said, to induce in this woman a state of mind whereby she no longer was able to exercise a free choice about what she did.

''That is not just deciding to do something for an easy life against your better judgment which you would rather not do, because we all do that a lot of the time, not necessarily commit crimes.''

He said the prosecution could prove that Pryce took the points because she chose to do so.

''She had a real choice and she exercised it in the way that she did,'' he told the court.

''You are trying Professor Vicky Pryce, a person who is well used to taking important decisions and actually founded a company whose whole business was to give ethical advice to people who were faced with difficult decisions so that they would do the right things even when the wrong thing would be the easier thing to do.

''You are not talking at the time of a woman who is under the thumb of anyone, you are talking about someone who has had a brilliant career because throughout it she has made very good decisions.''

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