Judge faces charge over Huhne case
One of the country's most prominent black woman judges has vowed to fight allegations that she perverted the course of justice in connection with the Chris Huhne trial.
Constance Briscoe, 56, is accused of two counts of the offence, relating to statements that were made to Essex Police.
In a statement issued through her solicitors, she said: "I am deeply distressed at the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service to charge me today. I have not committed the offences alleged against me and I will fight the allegations in court.
"There is a great deal more I would like to say now but I have been advised that I should not do so at this stage. I ask only that no judgment is reached against me on the basis of this prosecution decision and before the full facts are heard."
The first count alleges that, between May 2011 and last October, she provided police with two statements that were inaccurate. The second alleges that on October 6 she produced a copy of her witness statement that had been altered and maintained that it was the correct version.
Barrister and part-time judge Briscoe is facing allegations that she falsely claimed to police that she had no dealings with the press over the Huhne speeding points case.
Both Huhne and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce received eight-month sentences after it emerged that she had taken points for her former husband a decade ago - the former energy secretary pleaded guilty on the first day of a planned joint trial in February, and economist Pryce was later convicted by a jury.
During legal proceedings it was alleged that Briscoe, from the same street where the former power couple lived, had lied to police over her dealings with the press about the points-swapping, which first emerged through newspaper stories in 2011.
A spokeswoman for the Office for Judicial Complaints said: "The Lord Chief Justice and Lord Chancellor have suspended Constance Briscoe from the judiciary pending the outcome of the police investigation into the allegations against her."
She is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on June 24.