Chris Huhne (8 months) and Vicky Pryce (8 months) sentenced for perverting the course of justice

Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce arriving at Southwark Crown Court earlier

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.

Given that the sentences are quite short, it may be that they are kept there for the whole sentence (see here for an overview). If they are moved then they will both by Cat D.

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5 thoughts on “Chris Huhne (8 months) and Vicky Pryce (8 months) sentenced for perverting the course of justice

  1. sisterhooduk

    When I’m checking my doors and windows before going to bed at night or nervously looking over my shoulder on the way back to my car. Am I frightened I might bump into either Chris Huhne or Vicky Pryce. No. Why catch criminals when you can pick on people you can criminalise instead.

    Reply
  2. Andrew

    Come off it. They are criminals. There are worse – murderers, rapists, arsonists, robbers – but they are still criminals. They criminalised themselves. It’s very sad, but that’s how it is. She wanted her revenge and she got it, and it has cost her.

    What you could say, sisterhood, could apply to all non-violent offenders, couldn’t it? Do you really mean that the criminal process and imprisonment is not for “decent people” like these two?

    Reply
  3. sisterhooduk

    Imprisoning them serves no purpose at all and it is a waste of money. The system of fining drivers for speeding has never been about speeding, or even a deterrent, it is entirely about revenue generation. A documentary following one these mobile speeding cameras revealed a frustrated operative complaining because drivers were slowing down to 40 mph in 60 mph zone when they saw his van. He was complaining because they were SLOWING down. Speed wasn’t the issue but his inability to “catch” anyone no number plates equals no revenue. What Chris Huhne did was stupid. He asked Vicky to take his points. Who of us hasn’t done something utterly unbelievably dumb in the course of lives with or without criminal consequences. It’s the speeding points system which needs reform. Chris should have considered behaving more honorably when he met his new partner and left his wife for her. Yes she would have felt the anger and betrayal we would expect but not the need for vengeance. This mess is entirely his own and utterly avoidable. He should have kept his points, should have behaved less caddishly and finally owned up right from the start. Do I think these two flawed, but intrinsically decent, people should be behind bars. No. They are not career criminals there is nothing to be gained from this except the legal two fingered salute that’s been meted.

    Reply
  4. Pingback: Huhne and Pryce released after serving 2 months of 8-month sentences – Why? | UK Criminal Law Blog

  5. Pingback: Two jurors imprisoned for internet research/Facebook messages | UK Criminal Law Blog

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