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Photo from the BBC

Introduction

The case of Ched Evans, who was convicted of rape in 2012, has attracted an enormous amount of interest.

We covered his application to appeal in November 2012, which was unsuccessful. Normally, that would have been the end of the matter, but he made a successful application to the CCRC, who referred his case to the Court of Appeal.

The appeal was heard over two days on 22nd and 23rd March 2016. Unsurprisingly, given that there was a lot of evidence heard from various different witnesses, the judgement was reserved.

On 21st April 2016, judgment was ‘handed down’.

 

Outcome

The short version is that Mr Evans won his appeal. In those circumstances, the Court of Appeal has a discretion as to whether to order a re-trial or not.

Here, they decided to. Mr Evans will have to appear in the Crown Court within the next two months where directions will be set for a re-trial.

Given that a re-trial is ordered, it is not clear whether the full judgment will be made available. It may be that there are matters in that that the Court of Appeal feel should not be made public until the end of the re-trial. That is perfectly proper and usual, and is normal practice when a re-trial is ordered.

 

Analysis

We’ve got a busy work day, so will add to this as we go along (we promise to have a full comment up tonight at the latest).

 

What will happen at the re-trial?

It will proceed exactly as a ‘normal’ Crown Court trial.

One point to note though is that if he is found guilty at the re-trial, then he cannot get a higher sentence than at the first trial (5 years imprisonment).

Given that he has served the custodial part of his sentence, there is therefore no question of him being sent back to prison.

 

So is it still illegal to name the complainant?

Oh yes. Please do remember that – people have been prosecuted for not heeding that.

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Dan is a barrister at 2 Dr. Johnson’s Buildings practising in crime.

51 COMMENTS

  1. Great news but at the same time sad that an innocent man had to endure a prosecution, 2.5 years in jail and the petitions to stop him from earning a living doing his job.

    It is probably thanks to his financial position that he was able to fight his appeal. The nornal man of the street wouldn’t have been to afford it and would have been forced to accept a wrong conviction.

    He’s due an apology or two…

  2. This is at least a step in the right direction. There are 000s of ordinary people sat in cells NOW. Wrongly convicted. No wealth to afford appeal. No wealth to afford private detectives to find new evidence. HSA cases are worse. 000s of old people convicted without a shred of evidence, beyond reasonable doubt has been removed and the accuser “must be believed”. These people had no chance. They are presumed guilty which is against their human rights. It’s a national scandal. And it’s costing the country billions and billions. Tax payers money wasted. Something needs to change

  3. It would appear that the deeper your pockets the more you can purchase the verdict you want. My views remains unchanged the original guilty verdict was correct and I believe her.

    • So you were at the original trial? And evn though now that someone has looked at ALL the evidence the appeal judge feeling there is potential that he was innocent after all…yet STILL you cannot even pause for a moment and wonder WHY that might be? I agree entirely with your point about access to justice being limited to those who can afford it, but perhaps you need to see and feel a false allegation or wrongful conviction to appreciate how it happens. Those who don’t know would be horrified and disbelieving of how absurdly the can occur.

      • Were you at the original trial where he was convicted after the jury heard all the evidence, did you hear all the evidence that the jury did? The court of appeal has allegedly heard new and allegedly compelling (sceptical look) evidence not heard at the original trial and in addition, I am led to believe, that because the jury also allegedly heard about his previous conviction for a fradulent insurance claim re: a mobile phone that it is suggested it may have tainted their minds against him so much they couldn’t think straight thereafter and pronounced him guilty because of it.

        As the witness could not recall what had occured she has not falsely accused him of anything rather he was convicted, and rightly so, by his own testimony, his own conduct, other eye witness testimony as well as the evidence available at that time.

        If anyone else wishes to play rape apologist please form an orderly queue.

    • The deepest pockets are those of the Police and CPS, financed by the tax payer, that can afford to chase wrong cases and secure wrong convictions. They have nothing to lose.
      The private defendant has to pay for his own defence whether they’re innocent or not. I agree being wealthy allows the best defence and in this case the best chance of appeal. That’s the way our society has become unfortunately. The CPS don’t refund the tax payer when they get it wrong.
      You’re entitled to your views, fair enough. The Court of Appeal has different views. My view is that I’m safe to drive at 80 on the motorway, the law says I have to do 70 and I accept that. You will have to accept that Evans is an innocent man, at least until retrial.

      • The court of appeal does not have a different view they’ve ordered a retrial. All the rest is background noise from rape apologists.

      • As there appears to be an echo in here. Once again…. Perhaps you should go boil your head. I said that he raped her as charged. I didn’t mention what she said or didn’t say at all.

        • Yes the echo is you, yet again, assuming your all men are rapists stance. Just give it a rest and if your not open minded enough to discuss event then don’t.

          • Mansplain to me why I should keep quiet when I don’t agree with rape apologists… You keep quiet men talk to much anyway.

    • The deepest pockets are the Police and the CPS. They have the resources of the whole British State behind them. One should ask why the Police did not find this evidence before his original trial, the evidence has been out there all the time. The problem is the Police and CPS are not interested in finding out the truth only getting evidence which will get a conviction. The Police do not look for evidence which will help the defence. It is a scandal that Ched Evans has had to pay a private investigator to get this evidence. The Police should pay his costs for getting this new evidence.
      The manner in which the North Wales Police and the local CPS behaved on this case puts into question the safety of all rape convictions these jurasdictions have dealt with.

      • George Bernard Shaw said there should be a second police force with the same resources as the first charged with proving innocent anyone charged by the first force!

        Until we know something of this new evidence at the re-trial the less said the better.

    • Unconditional bail apparently. He can’t be on license as his sentence was nullified now that there’s no longer a conviction.

  4. Out of interest, does the CPS retain discretion over whether to proceed with a prosecution in cases where the defence has won an appeal but a retrial has been allowed/ordered? I.e. can the CPS decide not to proceed or do the appeal judges pull rank on them?

    • It was very strange that the CPS wanted a retrial almost from the start of the appeal should the conviction be quashed before they had heard the new evidence. I guess the CPS lawyers are going through the appeal transcripts to see if they have any chance of getting a conviction. I think it will become obvious to them that Ched’s Lawers have done such a good job that they don’t stand a chance of getting a conviction and they will throw in the towel and not proceed.

  5. I am troubled by the prospect of a retrial, and not (or not only) because of Evans’s position.

    The previous jury were not misogynist, or they would have acquitted them both; not misandrist or they would have convicted them both not racist or they would have convicted the black man and acquitted the white man; not celebrity-dazzled or they would have acquitted Evans. On the evidence they heard – and therein may lie the problem – they reached careful verdicts.

    The next jury may not be so careful. But they may also include jurors of an old-fashioned libertarian tendency who think it is wrong to try anyone twice for the same offence. In which case there may be a wrongful acquittal – and there will be nothing to be done about it.

    If the jury are hung I doubt if the CPS will try again.

    • Do you think they should just drop it then?
      It will be a bit of a strange trial knowing there will be no legal consequences for the defendant if convicted (apart from notification requirements I suppose but not sure how onerous that is in reality).

      • He’s rolled the dice and won a retrial I don’t see why the second trial should be hampered from increasing his original sentence if it sees fit. Why shouldn’t he go back to jail if the judge in this case believes the original sentence was too lenient.

        • They can’t impose an additional sentence even if he’s re-convicted. Unless I’ve misunderstood, that would be legally impossible. The only thing at stake is whether he’ll have a criminal record or not. And I suppose whether he’ll be able to return to football, though frankly I can’t see many teams wanting to sign him even if he’s acquitted.

      • Actually, I think the retrial has massive consequences for his footballing career. If acquitted, (which I now think he should be, and will be) he’s still young enough to have a few good years in him. If guilty, it’s game over. No club will come near him.

        How a jury can approach this new trial with a clean sheet and open mind it’s hard to imagine, after all the media exposures, 2.5 years in jail and an appeal.

        I can imagine a few unhappy faces at the CPS and North Wales Police today.

  6. L-E-S: Because the law says so. Until sometime in the Eighties (I think 1988) if you won an appeal you could not be tried again. Allowing a retrial was a triumph for the law-and-order brigade over the civil-liberties no-second-trial brigade, but it was hedged around with limitations: it needs the permission of the Court of Appeal, the CoA has to consider whether a fair trial is possible, and above all the sentence on a second conviction cannot be more severe than it was on the first.
    .
    So the answer to your question is “because the law will not allow the second judge to send him back to jail”.

  7. As for his chances of being signed again by any professional football club: they are somewhere between nil and zero.

    • You think so ? There are many footballers who have committed crimes and spent time inside and then returned to the game. Professional football is very forgiving.

      • Not for rape. And they should not have been allowed back, but it’s past wishing for. I doubt if any future dangerous drivers or the like will find a way back.
        .
        Any club who signs him – even if he is acquitted – will see sponsors falling over themselves in the rush for the door and an angry reaction from their supporters, and not only the female ones. And the crowds at away matches will give him a hard time. At some point a player from another club will refuse to shake his hand and there will be one almighty row.
        .
        And all the more so if he is convicted again even though he won’t go back into custody.
        .
        Football will get by without Mr Evans.

        • But he is no longer guilty of rape.
          .
          If he is found innocent, as looks likely, surely he should be encouraged and even assisted in resuming his chosen career?

        • Marlon King ?

          Sheffield United (with its many self proclaimed principled supporters) signed him in 2013 with little fuss.

          He was on the sex offenders list at the time after conviction for actions that were far worse than the allegations Evans faces.

          Furthermore he was awaiting trial at the time for another offence which he was subsequently convicted of and, I believe, still in prison for.

          • After the reaction SUFC and other clubs got from their fans it’s clear times have changed. And he’s hopelessly out of training.

        • “After the reaction SUFC and other clubs got from their fans it’s clear times have changed. And he’s hopelessly out of training.”

          Times change VERY quickly then. King was still being welcomed less than twelve months before that reaction. He only left Sheffield because he didn’t figure in the new manager’s plans.

          • If Ched Evans goes back to play for Sheffield United. I reckon the cheer from the stands when he goes on the field will be heard in London.

  8. A sad day for justice, proving as it does, that when money is no object it can buy you the decision you desire irrespective of what you may have done. I believe her.

    • You are fully entitled to believe anyone / anything you wish.
      You can also believe in unicorns. It doesn’t mean they’re real.
      Evans didn’t buy an appeal. He bought the time and skills of lawyers that were able to demonstrate to the judges that the conviction was unsafe.
      In an ideal world, he wouldn’t have needed such resources. But since North Wales Police and the CPS somehow managed to bring him to trial, he had to find the best resources he could. Money helps in those cases.
      Feel free to believe in unicorns, and that Police and CPS never bring charges against innocent people. Oh and you can google the case of Mark Pearson just to have a look at how easily an innocent person can end up in court accused of sexual offences he never committed. A sad day for justice indeed!

      • It is less futile to believe in unicorns than in justice for rape victims. Unless the rapist murders you or leaves you severely maimed because even with a guilty verdict no one believes you. His supporters are permitted to vilify and hound you, to accuse the CJS from top to bottom with corruption and maliciousness but if he gets an acquittal or a retrial suddenly any criticisms previously raised fall silent. It’s a mans world and women and girls are not safe in it until you men tackle the feral amongst you.

  9. I know what you mean – but I would rather the resources available to money were also available to legal aid than the other way round.

  10. Well, I believe her too (there’s not much to disbelieve in “I don’t remember”) but since she doesn’t recall what happened believing her doesn’t get us very far in this particular case. I can’t imagine what the new evidence could be but I’ll be honestly surprised if a second trial offers any more clarity or closure than the first. Seems likely to be an expensive waste of time that will just prolong the whole sorry saga for everyone involved, including both Evans and the complainant.
    .
    My doubt over the original verdicts was always that I found it outrageously illogical that one defendant could be found guilty and the other not, given the circumstances were identical in all relevant respects. But that point has been argued to death and the case will no doubt continue to divide opinion regardless of the eventual outcome. I can’t see anyone who currently believes him to be innocent changing their mind if he’s convicted again, nor can I imagine people who currently believe him to be guilty will believe him innocent if he’s acquitted (unless the evidence contains some sort of exculpatory bombshell, but how likely is that?!)

  11. Caroline, its more about what evidence was excluded in the original case is my understanding. Shhhhh…..and listen for the bombshell.

  12. In my view, the crime of rape should be limited to crimes of vaginal, anal or oral penetration involving force or making threats.

    Rape involving a weapon, or the threat of a weapon, needs to be punished extremely seriously. Were it not for the fact that there needs to be a differential between the custodial sentence for the crime of rape and for the crime of murder in order to give violent rapists an incentive not to murder their victims, I would argue that conviction for rape involving a weapon should result in a person never being released.

    If life sentences with no possibility of parole were to be handed out for rape with the threat of a weapon, as I believe they should, then the only way to restore such a differential would be to bring back the death penalty for murder, but not for violent rape with a weapon.

    There needs, also, to be a lesser charge of having sex with a person who is incapacitated by virtue of heavily intoxicated, comatose, unconscious or asleep. This crime should not be described or categorised as rape as such, but could and should still carry a possible maximum sentence of life imprisonment for repeat offenders.

  13. She shouldn’t of been in hotel with first man never mind the second where is her morals picking men up off the street.

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