Eastleigh MP In Court Appearance

3 December 2012, 17:41

Former Cabinet minister Chris Huhne appeared in court today ahead of his trial over an allegation he perverted the course of justice over a speeding penalty.

The former energy secretary is charged with the offence alongside his ex-wife Vicky Pryce over an allegation that he persuaded her to take his penalty points for a speeding offence almost a decade ago.

Huhne, 58, from Dutton Lane, Eastleigh, Hampshire, remains the Liberal Democrat MP for Eastleigh but stood down from Cabinet to fight the charge.

Neither he nor Ms Pryce were required to attend court today but the Lib Dem MP sat behind his barrister during the hearing. Ms Pryce was not in court.

Their trial is due to take place on January 14 at Southwark Crown Court in London.

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 of impropriety emerged only in 2010, after the father-of-five admitted an affair with PR adviser Carina Trimingham and ended his 26-year marriage.

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

Both defendants are on bail.

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