UK

Chris Huhne And Vicky Pryce Set For Release From Prison

22/04/2013 18:15 BST | Updated 22/04/2013 18:16 BST

Disgraced Cabinet minister Chris Huhne and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce are expected to be released from prison next month, after serving around two months of their eight-month sentences.

The former couple, both jailed in March for eight months for perverting the course of justice, are likely to be released some time in May - around a quarter of the way through their sentence.

vicky pryce chris huhne

Vicky Pryce and Chris Huhne were jailed in March

Huhne pleaded guilty, and Pryce was convicted by a jury, after it emerged that she had taken speeding points on his behalf a decade earlier.

Pryce's solicitor Robert Brown said on Monday she is expected to be released on a tag some time in mid-May, although no specific date has been set.

He said this was not due to any special treatment, but the same as any other inmate.

For sentences under a year, an offender will be automatically released after serving half their sentence.

In addition, offenders serving sentences of between three months and four years, with certain exceptions for violent and sexual offenders, may also be eligible for release on a home detention curfew (HDC).

This allows an offender to be released up to 135 days before their automatic release date.

Electronic tagging is used to enforce either a timed curfew or a place of residence.

On Monday a court heard former energy secretary Huhne, 58, is fighting a claim for more than £100,000 in prosecution costs.

A costs hearing at Southwark Crown Court - which Huhne was present at, but not Pryce - heard the former Lib Dem politician's legal team has offered £25,000.

Prosecutors are claiming a total of £108,541.15 from Huhne, who pleaded guilty in February, on the first day of his trial, after months of protracted attempts to get the case against him thrown out.

Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC said that the six-figure claim was "just and reasonable".

He told the court: "All of this occurred because Mr Huhne decided to do everything he could to try and get away with what he had done and gave in only at the last minute when defeat was inevitable.

"This was essentially predominantly caused by Mr Huhne's decision to make two applications - first to apply to dismiss on the grounds of insufficiency of evidence and secondly to apply to stay the proceedings as an abuse of process."

He said an "enormous amount of work" was done by the Crown Prosecution Service, counsel, and the police because of Huhne's assertions.

Huhne's barrister John Kelsey-Fry QC said it was "simply unjust and unreasonable" to expect Huhne to pay what he described as "every single possible penny that anybody could think of".

"In our view, a reasonable, indeed arguably generous, but reasonable figure which we would have been prepared to offer had the door not been closed on the day of sentence, would be £25,000."

The CPS is seeking a total of £48,695.56 from Pryce, 60, the court heard.

Her legal team are in the process of agreeing how much the economist, who did not attend court today, should be liable to pay.

The amounts could increase slightly to include the cost of Monday's hearing.

Mr Justice Sweeney is expected to make a ruling in the case next week.