British judge found guilty of lying in scandal that brought down minister

LONDON, (Reuters) – A British judge hailed as a role model was facing jail yesterday after being convicted of lying to police about her role in a revenge plot that landed a cabinet minister in jail.

Constance Briscoe, 56, one of the first black women in Britain to be appointed a recorder, or part-time judge, was convicted of three charges of perverting the course of justice at London’s Old Bailey criminal court.

Her case was a sequel to the saga of former minister Chris Huhne and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce, who were both jailed for eight months last year for lying to police in 2003 over which of them had committed a speeding offence.

Huhne, a senior Liberal Democrat who was energy secretary in Britain’s coalition government, was once seen as a potential successor to party leader Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, until the scandal ended his political career.

Pryce exposed the deception over the speeding offence in the press in 2011 in an act of revenge against Huhne after he had left her for his mistress a year earlier.

Briscoe, the author of a best-selling childhood memoir entitled “Ugly” and praised as a role model for overcoming an underprivileged start in life to become a trial lawyer and recorder, had advised Pryce on how to act in a way that would hurt Huhne but not Pryce.

She had initially been lined up to be a prosecution witness in the trial of Huhne and Pryce, but when police found discrepancies in what she had told them, she herself was charged.

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