Former Eastleigh MP To Pay More Than £100,000
Disgraced former Eastleigh MP and energy secretary Chris Huhne is facing a claim for more than £100,000 in prosecution costs, a court heard today.
A judge is yet to decide how much the ex-politician should pay for his points-swapping case, but a costs hearing at Southwark Crown Court today heard his legal team has offered £25,000.
Huhne, who is serving an eight-month prison sentence for perverting the course of justice, appeared at today's hearing from prison, supported in the public gallery, by his father and partner Carina Trimingham.
He and his former wife Vicky Pryce were both jailed last month after it emerged that she had taken speeding points on his behalf a decade earlier. Prosecutors are claiming a total of £108,541.15 from Huhne, who pleaded guilty in February after months of protracted attempts to get the case against him thrown out.
Today the court heard that Huhne's legal team has offered to pay £25,000 towards the case. 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, who was found guilty after a re-trial. 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 today's hearing. Mr Justice Sweeney is expected to make a ruling in the case next week.