Lies over speeding lead to prison

By Julian Drape

Former Cabinet minister and ex-wife both sentenced to eight months for perverting course of justice.

If you are going to ask your wife to take your speeding points, it's probably not a good idea to subsequently have an affair.

Former British Cabinet minister Chris Huhne has learned that lesson the hard way and yesterday was sentenced to eight months' jail for perverting the course of justice.

The case is reminiscent of the dramatic fall from grace of former Federal Court judge Marcus Einfeld in Australia in 2009.

Einfeld made the mistake of claiming a friend from the United States was driving his speeding car. That lie unravelled because the friend was dead.

Enfield was sentenced to three years' jail (and served two) but Huhne, 58, is likely to spend just four months behind bars.

He was sentenced yesterday alongside former wife Vicky Pryce, 60. She received eight months' jail, too, for stating that in 2003 she was behind the wheel of Huhne's BMW.

The couple split in mid-2010 when Huhne's affair with his PR adviser Carina Trimingham was about to become public.

Justice Nigel Sweeney said yesterday that later that year Pryce, "motivated by an implacable desire for revenge ... decided to set about the dual objective of ruining Mr Huhne whilst protecting your own position and reputation in the process".

"Your weapon of choice was the revelation of his part in the offence in 2003," the judge told Southwark Crown Court. "But it was a dangerous weapon because it had, in truth, been a joint offence."

Huhne eventually pleaded guilty on day one of his trial.

But during an earlier hearing, correspondence between the 58-year-old and his youngest son revealed the damage done. Huhne wrote to Peter in late 2011: "I'm proud and I love you."

To which his son replied: "Leave me alone, you have no place in my life and no right to be proud. It's irritating that you don't seem to take the point. You are such an autistic piece of sh**. Don't contact me again, you make me feel sick."

When Pryce was found guilty last week - she had run an ultimately doomed defence of marital coercion - one headline screamed: "The price of vengeance."

Before spending his first night in prison Huhne told the Guardian newspaper he felt awful that so many people he loved had been dragged into the drama.

"I want, and have, to say sorry for not owning up when the story first came out," he said.

"I should have owned up and got on with doing something else with my career. Lawmakers can be many things, but they cannot be lawbreakers."

Five months after the speeding offence in 2003, Huhne lost his licence after being caught driving while talking on his phone.

- AAP

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