Chris Huhne and Vicky Price were a high-flying British couple, until the old-adage that "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" hit home.
A tangled web of intrigue involving British Liberal Democrat politician Chris Huhne, his former wife Vicky Price and the matter of some driving penalty points will soon be dusted away. Huhne denied allegations that former wife Vicky had taken the points for him in 2003. She accused him years later, following an acrimonious split. He finally confessed and pleaded guilty, leading to a hasty February by-election in Eastleigh, in the South of England.
Vicky claimed that she had only taken the points after being pressurized by Huhne, but Thursday the jury at Southwark Crown Court did not swallow her story and found her guilty of perverting the course of justice. As the case against them drew to a close questions were raised about other senior British politicians and their partners. Allegations that the Deputy PM Nick Clegg's wife knew that Vicky had taken the penalty points, and so did Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable, cast a dark shadow over the Cabinet. Both deny the allegations, or should we say, cannot recall them.
This high-profile case has highlighted the high incidence of drivers attempting to get others to take their penalty points for them. This is sometimes because they already have points on their license and are in danger being banned from driving. Yes, there are many reasons, but doing so can cause many problems. The most obvious negative is that it is against the law. Then there is the fact that a person deemed unfit to drive may still be doing so, because of your actions. There will now be some political fall-out as fingers are pointed and accusations denied. All should be investigated so that this case can finally be put to rest and justice served.
The Crown Prosecution Service will now try to recover costs, which are in the tens of thousands of pounds.
Jail, or not?
There is no doubt that revenge played a part in Ms Price's actions. She was warned by a reporter that she may face a trial herself. Vicky obviously decided that "getting back at her husband" was worth the risk. This means she cannot complain that she was found guilty. Surely, however, Huhne will receive the strongest sentence? Well maybe, but perhaps the judge will decide that Vicky acted in the same that an accessory does to a murder crime, or a receiver of stolen goods does following a theft. In that case the judge could opt to make her an example. Huhne admitted his crime, albeit at the eleventh hour.
Price and Huhne sat in the dock, separated by a chair. Both listened to character witness statements. An allegation that Huhne forced Vicky, his wife at the time, to have an abortion was dismissed by the judge. Throughout the trial the court has not bought into the image of Vicky being "forced" by Huhne, to do anything. She is regarded as a strong, feisty character who was able to act independently. The sentencing hearing dragged on Monday until around 4pm GMT when the judge retired to consider the verdicts. The court resumed at 4.30pm and a lengthy period of silence followed. The judge told Price and Huhne the sentences before the court heard them following his comments.
5pm GMT, the verdict, finally Chris Huhne is sentenced to eight months in jail, a 10% reduction for pleading guilty. Vicky Price receives an eight months jail term also. He is expected to serve less than 4 months and return to office.