Barrister Briscoe sentenced for lying to police over Chris Huhne case
Barrister Constance Briscoe has been sentenced to 16 months in prison for lying to police over Chris Huhne’s speeding offence case.
Part-time judge Briscoe was convicted of three counts of intending to pervert the course of justice after she gave police two inaccurate statements.
During the Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce case she produced an altered copy of her witness statement and deliberately got a document expert to review the fraudulent copy.
Despite being called to be an impartial witness at the trial, she was very close to Ms Pryce, who was a friend and also her neighbour.
Briscoe also denied having any involvement with the press about the case but emails obtained proved otherwise.
After her involvement was revealed, Briscoe was dropped as a witness and an investigation was opened. She was arrested in October 2012 and has been on suspension since.
Prosecution told the jury that Briscoe had been intent on bringing Huhne down and encouraged Ms Pryce to reveal information about his points-swapping to newspapers.
The scandal led Huhne to resign from the cabinet as the secretary of state for energy and climate change.
Last February, both Huhne and Pryce were convicted for perverting the course of justice and served jail time. The couple are now divorced.
Commenting on the verdict to the Daily Mail, Huhne said: “British justice is likely to be a lot fairer with Briscoe behind bars.”
Briscoe is believed to be the first British judge in living memory to be convicted of such serious crimes. The mother-of-two was made a crown court recorder in 1996 after she became the first black woman to sit as a judge in Britain.
Jailing her, judge Mr Justice Barker at the Old Bailey said: “Briscoe had been a role model to others and the conviction would have a devastating effect on her career.”
Police told the BBC that the verdict proved that “nobody is above the law”.
Speaking after the sentencing, chief Kent Police detective inspector John McDermott told BBC: “Constance Briscoe was the architect of her own downfall. She has today lost much more than her liberty.”
Furthermore, a BBC investigation has revealed that Briscoe is facing a criminal inquiry about her actions in an unsuccessful libel case brought against her by her mother in 2008, over Briscoe’s memoir Ugly, in which she claimed she was a victim of cruelty and neglect as a child.