Ex-Wife of U.K. Politician Huhne Guilty of Obstruction

Vicky Pryce, the ex-wife of former U.K. Energy Secretary Chris Huhne, was found guilty of perverting the course of justice after taking points on her driving license for a speeding offense Huhne committed.

Pryce, 60, and Huhne, 58, were charged last year by prosecutors after it was alleged he was caught speeding in 2003 and coerced Pryce to take the penalty points so he could avoid disqualification. Huhne, the first serving British Cabinet minister to be charged with a serious criminal offense in modern times, pleaded guilty last month.

Huhne left Pryce for an aide following the exposure of his affair in 2010 and Pryce sought revenge by telling the story to the Sunday Times newspaper. Prosecutors learned of the speeding incident from the media coverage and charged both of them in February 2012.

“It is important that everyone should act within the law - - whoever they are,” Malcolm McHaffie, deputy head of special crime at the Crown Prosecution Service, said in a statement.

No Illusions

Huhne wasn’t sentenced pending the result in Pryce’s trial, in which she used a “marital coercion” defense. Pryce faced a retrial after the original jury in the case failed to reach a verdict. Judge Nigel Sweeney told the former Liberal Democrat lawmaker to expect a jail term at a hearing last month.

“She must be under no illusions that my granting of bail indicates any watering down of that provisional approach,” Sweeney said today, referring to his remarks that Huhne faces a probable jail term.

Pryce, a senior managing director at FTI Consulting Inc., said she is disappointed with the verdict, her lawyer, Robert Brown, told reporters outside the court.

E-mails released following the verdict suggested people close to U.K. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the head of the Liberal Democrats, were told as early as 2011 Huhne forced his ex-wife to lie for him over the speeding ticket.

(Updates with police statement in third paragraph.)
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