In the Media

Vicky Pryce pleads not guilty to taking penalty points for Chris Huhne

PUBLISHED June 1, 2012

Appearing at Southwark Crown Court, the Greek born economist, who appeared under her given name, Vasiliki Pryce, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Alongside her in the dock was Mr Huhne who did not enter a plea during the short hearing.

His arraignment was adjourned pending an application to dismiss the charge ahead of a trial.

It is alleged that Mr Huhne persuaded his then wife to take his penalty points for a speeding offence on the M11 motorway almost a decade ago.

Huhne, who remains the Lib Dem MP for Eastleigh in Hampshire, stood down from Cabinet to fight the charge.

The couple, who split in 2010 after Mr Huhne revealed he was in a relationship with his bisexual aide and press officer, Carina Trimingham, sat in the dock together but made no eye contact with one another and did not speak.

Miss Pryce, who was wearing a beige linen jacket and a brown knee-length skirt, spoke only to confirm her name and to answer "not guilty" when the charge was put to her.

A provisional trial date has been set for October 2 and is due to last no more than two weeks.

The events which led to the charges date back to March 2003, when Huhne's car was allegedly caught by a speed camera on the motorway between Stansted Airport in Essex and London.

Accusations that his wife had taken the speeding points so that he could avoid a driving ban only emerged following the breakdown of their marriage.

It is alleged that between March 12 2003 and May 21 2003, Pryce falsely informed police that she was the driver of the car, thereby falsely accepting responsibility for the offence so Huhne could avoid prosecution.

Both defendants were released on unconditional bail until a pretrial hearing on a date to be fixed, probably next month.

Perverting the course of justice carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.