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After conviction Ex minister Huhne and his ex wife facing legal costs by CPS (23 April 2013)

Date: 23/04/2013
Duncan Lewis, Legal News Solicitors, After conviction Ex minister Huhne and his ex wife facing legal costs by CPS

The prosecution is claiming more than £100,000 in legal costs from Ex minister Chris Huhne following his conviction for perverting the course of justice. His ex-wife Vicky Pryce convicted along side Huhne is also facing a bill of more than £48,000. She was jailed for accepting his speeding points.
However the lawyers for the former couple argue the sums are not just or reasonable. Next month after serving quarter of their sentence both Huhne and Pryce may be released from the prison. They were both jailed for eight months in March after it was found that she had taken speeding points on his behalf a decade earlier when they were still married.
The former energy secretary admitted asking Pryce to take the points, and Pryce was convicted of having agreed to do so.
On Monday, the costs hearing at Southwark Crown Court in London was told Huhne's legal team had made an offer of £25,000 to be paid towards the case.
But the Crown Prosecution Service said it was seeking a total of £108,541 because of Huhne's protracted attempts to get the case dismissed.
He claimed that Pryce had lied and made up the allegation that he forced her to take his speeding points.
Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC said the CPS had done a lot of work based on the claim and accused the former MP of serious misconduct in as much as that he eventually pleaded guilty on the eve of his trial.
All this had taken place because Mr Huhne’s attempts to do everything he could to try and get away with what he had done and gave in only at the last minute when he knew he was losing the case Mr Edis said.
Mr Huhne had made two applications one for dismissing on the grounds of insufficiency of evidence and second to apply to stay the proceedings as an abuse of process. This led to the escalation of costs of the case where more than £31,000 was incurred for police overtime for investigating the doubts raised by Huhne’s legal team on whether Huhne would receive a fair trial.
But QC representing Huhne, said it was "simply unjust and unreasonable" to expect him to pay "every single possible penny that anybody could think of". He added that in their view the reasonable figure would be £25,000 QC, acting for Pryce, said she was originally asked to pay about £38,000 and the CPS must explain why that had now increased to £48,695.
Mr Justice Sweeney will give his ruling in the case next week. Any prosecution costs levied will be in addition to Huhne and Pryce's own legal fees.

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