Judge charged with perverting justice in Chris Huhne case

Safer community day highlights key services in town

Have your say

A judge has been charged with perverting the course of justice in connection with the case of former Eastleigh MP Chris Huhne and his estranged wife Vicky Pryce.

Constance Briscoe is accused of two counts of the offence, relating to statements that were made to Essex Police, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

The first count alleges that, between May 2011 and last October, she provided police with two statements that were inaccurate.

The second alleges that on October 6 she produced a copy of her witness statement that had been altered and maintained that it was the correct version.

Briscoe is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on June 24, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

CPS senior lawyer Deborah Walsh said: “We have today authorised the Kent and Essex Police serious crime directorate to charge Constance Briscoe with two counts of intending to pervert the course of public justice.

“The first allegation is that, between May 16 2011 and October 6 2012, Constance Briscoe provided Essex Police with two statements which were inaccurate.

“The second allegation, dated October 6 2012, is that Constance Briscoe produced a copy of a witness statement that had been altered and that she maintained was the correct version.

“This decision was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

“We have determined that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and that these charges are in the public interest.

“Constance Briscoe will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on June 24 2013.”

Barrister and part-time judge Briscoe, 56, from Clapham, is facing allegations that she falsely claimed to police that she had no dealings with the press over the Huhne scandal.

Both Huhne and Pryce received eight-month sentences after it emerged that she had taken speeding points for her former husband a decade ago - the former Energy Secretary pleaded guilty on the first day of a planned joint trial in February, and economist Pryce was later convicted by a jury.

During legal proceedings it was alleged that Briscoe, from the same street where the former power couple lived, had lied to police over her dealings with the press about the points-swapping, which first emerged through newspaper stories in 2011.

The barrister, who hit the headlines in 2008 when her mother sued her over claims made in her “misery memoir” Ugly, was arrested on October 2012 and suspended by the Office of Judicial Complaints.

A judicial press office spokeswoman said: “The Lord Chief Justice and Lord Chancellor have suspended Constance Briscoe from the judiciary pending the outcome of the police investigation into the allegations against her.”