Barrister and part-time judge Constance Briscoe has been jailed for 16 months for lying to police over her role in the speeding-point swap scandal involving ex-cabinet minister Chris Huhne.
Earlier this week Briscoe was convicted at the Central Criminal Court in London of three counts of intending to pervert the course of justice, after Huhne got his then wife to take his speeding points.
The court heard she helped her friend Vicky Pryce, Huhne’s former wife, to tell the papers about the points-swapping after the couple split up in 2010.
Jailing Briscoe, Mr Justice Baker said she had displayed ‘arrogance’ and had ‘considered respect for the law was for others’.
Recognising her personal circumstances, he said: ‘I am only too conscious that your convictions mark a personal tragedy for both you and your children. You are an individual who unsurprisingly has been something of a role model to others.
‘Although blessed with intelligence, you did not have every advantage in life. However you worked hard at school and were the first person in your family to go to university.
‘Having gained a degree in law, you joined the bar and over the years established a successful criminal practice, and had the privilege of being appointed a Crown court recorder. You have done all of this whilst raising your two much-loved children.’
But, he said, she had over the years also ‘courted a significant degree of self-publicity’.
Her conduct ‘strikes at the heart of our much-cherished system of criminal justice, which is integral and invaluable to the good order of society’.
‘In those circumstances I regret that I do not consider that any other sentence can be justified, but one involving the deprivation of your liberty. I of course take into account, amongst other matters, your good character, and the devastating effect that these convictions will have upon your career at the bar.’
Huhne pleaded guilty in February last year to perverting the course of justice and Pryce was convicted after a trial in which she had denied the same offence. Both received eight-month prison sentences, but served only eight weeks before bring released. Subsequently they both had to wear electronic ankle tags and were subject to curfew.
A spokesman for the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office said: ‘Ms Briscoe was suspended from the judiciary by the lord chief justice and lord chancellor on 9 October 2012. Following today’s verdict at the Central Criminal Court the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office will invite Ms Briscoe to make representations as to why she should not be removed from the judiciary.
‘A report will then be submitted to the lord chief justice and lord chancellor for their consideration. Ms Briscoe will remain suspended from the judiciary pending the conclusion of the JCIO process.’
A BSB spokesperson said: 'Following today’s verdict at the Central Criminal Court, the Bar Standards Board confirms that it has received a complaint about Ms Constance Briscoe, which we will deal with in line with our usual disciplinary process.'