Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce were sentenced this afternoon by Mr Justice Sweeney to 8 months and 8 months imprisonment respectively. Chris Huhne received a 10% deduction for his plea of guilty.
The key information is available here, including the facts, the abuse of process applications and those infamous jury questions. There is also a brief look at the sentences for such cases – and a prediction.
The sentencing remarks are available here.
It is extremely useful having the sentencing remarks and they’re certainly worth reading (they’re only 5 pages), but a brief summary follows:
After setting out the facts of the offence and the history of the proceedings, the Judge noted that whilst this was a huge tragedy and fall from grace for them, “any element of tragedy is entirely your own fault“.
He then noted that there were no guidelines for the offence, but that this sort offending inevitably carries a custodial sentence unless there are exceptional circumstances. And in this case, those circumstances did not exist.
In relation to Chris Huhne, the Judge stated that the offence was his idea which made him more culpable (but not by much). Taking into account the delay before his sentence and the impact on his career, the starting point would be 9 months in prison. Given his late guilty plea, the actual sentence would be 8 months.
In relation to Vicky Pryce, the Judge stated that in his view she was marginally less culpable and noted that this would have a catastrophic effect on her. However, there was no genuine remorse and nothing that could mean that the sentence could be suspended. For that reason, she also was sentenced to 8 months.
When will they be released?
Neither have spent any time on custody, so the sentence of 8 months will start from today. The normal rules mean that they will have to serve half of that – so 4 months. They will both be eligible for HDC (early release on a tag) which means, in this case, they could be released after two months.
Given their age and personal background it’s highly unlikely that they will be in trouble again. Also, they clearly do not present any violent or sexual risk to the public, so it is almost certain that they will be released on a tag in 2 months.
Will they appeal?
In relation to Ms Pryce, we do not know if she will appeal to her conviction.
As to the sentence – it is above the usual sentences given for this offence, but not by much. For this reason, whilst it may be that both will appeal, we would not expect their sentence to be reduced.
Which prison will they go to?
Overnight, it will be the local prisons, probably Wandsworth for Mr Huhne and Holloway for Ms Pryce.