Huhne ordered to pay £77,750 costs

Herald Series: Former energy secretary Chris Huhne Former energy secretary Chris Huhne

Former Cabinet minister Chris Huhne has been ordered to pay £77,750 for the costs of his prosecution for passing speeding points to his ex-wife.

In a judgment handed down by Mr Justice Sweeney at Southwark Crown Court today, Huhne's ex-wife, economist Vicky Pryce, was ordered to pay £49,200.

Prosecutors had claimed more than £100,000 from Huhne, who pleaded guilty last February on the first day of his trial, after months of denials and protracted attempts to get the case against him thrown out.

Both he and Pryce, who was convicted by a jury, have served prison sentences for perverting the course of justice when she took speeding points for her then-husband in 2003.

The order comes a week after barrister and part-time judge Constance Briscoe was jailed for 16 months after a jury found she had lied to police investigating the points scandal.

Briscoe, who was one of the first black women to sit as a judge in the UK, also faces being barred from the judiciary after being found guilty of three counts of intending to pervert the course of justice.

Her trial heard she helped Pryce to reveal information about the points-swapping to newspapers after the couple split in 2010, then lied to police about her involvement.

She had been due to appear as a witness in Huhne and Pryce's trial but was dropped after her involvement was revealed and she was arrested in October 2012.

Huhne, who described Briscoe as a "compulsive and self-publicising fantasist", has since claimed that he continued to deny his guilty because he was convinced that the barrister's witness statement to police was "made up".

Writing in the Guardian, he said: "I was convinced that Briscoe had made this up, which is why I went on denying guilt and hoping that I could cause the prosecution case to collapse. Nothing encourages a defence like being fitted up with fake evidence."

Giving his judgment today, Mr Justice Sweeney said that although Huhne had "falsely pretended over a long period... that he was innocent", he did not think it would be "just and reasonable" for the disgraced MP to pay the costs of the investigation into Briscoe sparked by the original case.

But he said he had "no hesitation" in rejecting Huhne's legal team's original offer of £25,000 towards costs.

The speeding points scandal brought about the end of Huhne's political career, forcing him to stand down as a Cabinet minister and later to resign as an MP.

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