Thursday, January 29, 2015

Another wrongful conviction?

British footballer Ched Evans was convicted on very flimsy grounds. The sex was consensual but a court in its wisdom decided that the woman was too drunk to give consent. How was Evans to know that? There are no standards for how drunk a woman can be before being unable to consent. If there were, millions of normal conceptions might have to be called products of rape. In our society alcohol often accompanies sex. To Evans the woman seemed no drunker than normal. If so the mens rea (guilty intent) is absent and no crime was committed.

Rapist footballer Ched Evans claimed today he has new evidence he believes will help him overturn his conviction. The disgraced striker, 26, maintains he is 'innocent' of attacking his victim in a Rhyl hotel room in 2011 because he believes the sex was consensual.

Evans has successfully applied to the Criminal Cases Review Commission to have his 2012 conviction re-examined, but sent a new bundle of evidence to them on Friday.

A statement on his website today said: 'Further detailed submissions - supported by previously unavailable fresh evidence that we believe strengthens Ched's application - were lodged with the Commission.'

His solicitor has told MailOnline today that he is confident that the disgraced former Sheffield United striker will be cleared.

Shaun Draycott said: 'We have fresh evidence that has been submitted late last week. 'We feel it is a strong case and I remain deeply concerned about Ched's conviction and we are hopeful that his application will lead to his case being referred to the Court of Appeal. 'But I cannot discuss the details of the application only to say it is very detailed and builds on the evidence submitted last July and includes fresh evidence'.

The footballer's legal team has handed its latest file of evidence to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), which considers if convictions are unsafe. If they believe there is a case they then refer it to the Court of Appeal where judges will consider whether to overturn the conviction or order a retrial.

This process could take up to a year to complete meaning Evans is unlikely to return to football before 2016 if he is cleared.

MailOnline understands that Evans’ fresh submission may be connected to evidence not used at his trial by the prosecution that may have helped his case if it had been disclosed to the defence at the time.

The Criminal Cases Review Commission has confirmed it has received the new legal bundle but would not discuss the case.

Evans was released from prison last October after completing half of a five-year jail sentence for raping a 19-year-old woman.

The Welsh striker denied rape, saying the sex was consensual, but he was found guilty by a jury at Caernarfon Crown Court.

The prosecution said the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was too drunk to consent to sexual intercourse.

The woman was raped in a Rhyl Premier Inn in 2012 after his footballer friend Clayton McDonald, who was cleared of rape, texted Evans on the way there saying: 'I've got a bird'. McDonald had sex with the victim, before Evans arrived and raped her, as two others filmed it through the window.

After his release from jail his old club Sheffield United, who used to pay him £20,000-a-week, agreed to let him train with them. But the League One club was plunged into crisis when three patrons quit, fans threatened a boycott and its main sponsor warned it would scrap their deal if they tried to sign him.

Earlier this month he finally apologised to the woman he raped for the first time after a deal to sign for Oldham Athletic collapsed at the last minute.

He said in a statement: 'Whilst I continue to maintain my innocence, I wish to make it clear that I wholeheartedly apologise for the effects that night in Rhyl has had on many people, not least the woman concerned'.

Original report here

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