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White-Collar Crime

Ex-judge faces case over speeding-ticket switch that put lawmaker and wife in jail

Posted Jun 14, 2013 6:45 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A 10-year-old speeding ticket continues to make trouble for high-profile individuals in the United Kingdom.

The latest target of criminal charges is a former judge, Constance Briscoe. The well-known barrister is facing two counts of intending to pervert the course of public justice. She is accused of providing inaccurate information to police investigating a criminal case over a husband and wife who agreed to switch responsibility for a 2003 speeding ticket, the BBC News reports.

The husband in the case was Chris Huhne, then a member of the British parliament serving as the country's energy secretary. Vicky Pryce, an economist, is his former wife. Although Pryce initially agreed to take the blame for the speed-camera ticket, she changed her mind and set him up for criminal prosecution after he left her for an aide. She wound up facing prosecution too, and both Huhne and Pryce were convicted and recently completed two-month jail terms.

Now Briscoe, a friend and neighbor of Pryce in London, is accused of lying to Essex Police about helping Pryce leak the story of the ticket-switch to the media, in an apparent effort to make trouble for Huhne, according to the BBC and Legal Week. Prosecutors say that she provided police with two statements that were inaccurate between May 16, 2011 and Oct. 6, 2012. Briscoe was arrested in October 2012 for undisclosed reasons.

An earlier BBC News article provides additional details.

In a written statement provided to the BBC on Wednesday, Briscoe said she has done nothing wrong but has been advised not to comment in detail about her pending case.

"I am deeply distressed at the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service to charge me today," she said. "I have not committed the offenses alleged against me and I will fight the allegations in court."

A hearing in Westminster Magistrates' Court is scheduled later this month.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: "Lawmaker’s wife who took rap for hubby’s speeding ticket, then blew the whistle, wins mistrial"

ABAJournal.com: "Lawmaker’s ex-wife who blew whistle on 2003 speeding ticket switch also faces likely jail term"

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