, LONDON, Feb 25 – The retrial of the ex-wife of Britain’s disgraced energy minister began on Monday after a jury failed to reach a verdict last week in a case which has effectively ended his political career.
Vicky Pryce denies perverting the course of justice by taking speeding points for her former husband, Chris Huhne.
The first trial ended after the judge said the jury had shown a “fundamental” lack of understanding of the evidence.
Pryce, a 60-year-old Greek-born economist, is using the defence of marital coercion, claiming Huhne forced her to accept the points on her licence because he would have been banned from driving if he had taken them.
Huhne – once considered one of the leading lights of the Liberal Democrats, the junior coalition partners – has already pleaded guilty and could face jail.
He stood down from the cabinet last year and the offence has almost certainly snuffed out his political ambitions.
The charges relate to an incident in March 2003 when Huhne’s car was caught by a speed camera as it travelled between Stansted Airport near London and the capital.
Judge Nigel Sweeney told the new jury that the failure to reach a verdict last week was “of no relevance whatsoever in this trial”.
“In this trial the slate, as it were, is wiped clean, and you judge the case afresh based only on the evidence which unfolds before you during the course of the trial,” he said.