Barrister Constance Briscoe refused appeal over lying to police

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Constance BriscoeImage source, PA

Barrister Constance Briscoe has been refused permission to appeal against her conviction for lying to police in ex-cabinet minister Chris Huhne's speeding points case.

Briscoe, 57, was convicted last year of trying to pervert the course of justice and jailed for 16 months.

An Old Bailey judge said at the time the conviction marked a "personal tragedy" for her and her two children.

On Wednesday, Court of Appeal judges refused her permission to appeal.

Briscoe, once a part-time judge, claimed she had fresh expert computer forensic evidence.

This, she said, would show there was a possible innocent explanation for differences between two witness statements she had provided and this would cast doubt on the safety of her conviction.

But Lord Justice Davis, Mr Justice Supperstone and Judge Martyn Zeidman said that no reasonable explanation had been given for the failure to produce such evidence at her trial if it was thought it would assist the defence.

"Having considered all the material before us, our conclusion is that there is no proper basis for receiving this proposed fresh evidence in the interests of justice," they said.

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Image caption,
Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce were both jailed after she took speeding points for her then husband

"Such evidence, if relied on, could, with reasonable diligence, have been produced at trial.

"Further, and more importantly, we consider that it affords no ground for allowing the appeal," they added.

Jurors at the Old Bailey last year had been told that Briscoe helped Huhne's then wife, Vicky Pryce - her friend and neighbour - to reveal information about Huhne's points-swapping to newspapers after the couple split in 2010.

The scandal led to Huhne's resignation and subsequent prosecution.

Mr Justice Baker said Briscoe had tried to hide her role in exposing the story, adding that both she and Pryce had been motivated by "a joint desire to ensure the downfall of Chris Huhne".

Jailing her, 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."

The following month, Briscoe was removed from judicial office. She is now facing near-bankruptcy, the judges heard.

She was ordered to pay £3,000 costs but it will be up to the Crown to decide whether to enforce the order.