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Chris Huhne Charged: CPS Statement On Energy Secretary And Vicky Pryce (FULL TEXT)

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This statement is made by the Crown Prosecution Service in the interests of transparency and accountability to explain the decisions reached in the cases of Mr Christopher Huhne and Ms Vasiliki Pryce and to explain the time taken in arriving at these decisions.

A criminal complaint was made to Essex Police in May 2011, alleging that Ms Pryce had accepted responsibility for a speeding offence committed by Mr Huhne in 2003.

That complaint was investigated by Essex Police and a file was passed to the CPS in late July 2011. The CPS advised that further investigations should be made, including obtaining certain material from a national newspaper.

Those further investigations were made and, in October 2011, an order was made for the newspaper to produce material to the police. The newspaper appealed that order, as it was entitled to do, but subsequently consented to producing the material in question just before the appeal was due to be heard, on 20 January this year.

All the available evidence, including the new material, has now been carefully considered by the CPS and we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence to bring criminal charges against Mr Huhne and Ms Pryce for perverting the course of justice.

The essence of the charges is that between March and May 2003, Mr Huhne, having allegedly committed a speeding offence, falsely informed the investigating authorities that Ms Pryce had been the driver of the vehicle in question, and she falsely accepted that she was the driver.

Accordingly, summonses against both Mr Huhne and Ms Pryce have been obtained from Westminster Magistrates Court and those summonses will now be served on them.

They are due to appear in court on 16 February this year. The decision in this case was taken by Mr Rene Barclay, a senior and very experienced prosecutor, in consultation with Sue Hemming, the Head of Special Crime Division and in consultation with me as DPP.

Can I remind all concerned that Mr Huhne and Ms Pryce now stand charged with criminal offences and that they each have a right to a fair trial. It is very important that nothing is said, or reported, which could prejudice their trial.