Ched Evans not to be prosecuted over website

Ched Evans not to be prosecuted over website

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Photo from The Star

Introduction

If you don’t know who Ched Evans is, then in brief, he is a footballer who was convicted of rape and sentenced to five years imprisonment, being released last year. If you want more of an overview, then see here (with lots of associated links).

Mr Evans does not accept his guilt and, despite the Court of Appeal refusing his application for an appeal, is trying to persuade the CCRC to refer his case back to the Courts.

 

Website

As part of his campaign to clear his name, he has set up a website to garner public interest (and, he says, to potentially find new witnesses).

One issue at the trial was whether the complainant was too intoxicated to give consent. To (in his view) counteract this, Mr Evans (or those acting on his behalf) posted CCTV footage from the hotel where the rape happened.

This triggered a complaint that it was breaching the anonymity granted to victims of sexual offences.

On 18th May 2015, the CPS concluded that there was not sufficient evidence for a prosecution. This was because “As the footage had been pixelated, and there was otherwise nothing sufficiently distinctive in the footage, it was deemed unlikely that a member of the public could identify the victim and for that reason it was decided that there was insufficient evidence to charge“.

They also considered “whether or not this CCTV, in conjunction with information about the victim that was already in the public domain, could lead to identification. It was decided that a member of the public would still be unlikely to identify the victim were they aware of both the CCTV and other information“.

 

Comment

The CPS decision would appear to be clearly right – the CCTV was pixellated for publication, and it is not possible to identify the victim. For that reason, a prosecution was never going to succeed.

On a separate point, it is important that those who say that they have been wrongly convicted have the opportunity to present their case to the public. Ched Evans is not someone deserving of sympathy, but hard cases make bad law etc. It would set a bad precedent for more deserving cases had action been taken against this website.

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

25 COMMENTS

  1. The “rapist is innocent” webshite appears set up to victim blame and vilify the victim than exonnerate Ched Evans and it is disigenuous of them to suggest otherwise. If the question is about consent and whether or not the victim was consenting, and or whether he reasonably believed she was, at the time he raped her, there were only three people in the room when it occured where is/are other witnesses miraculously going to appear from? My brief view of the webshite showed much discussion of the the victim’s alleged sexual history compared with none of the rapist’s. They invite you to view the CCTV but neglect to mention it was fillmed in stop motion, is she staggering or not therefore is not possible to discern and anyway lack of stagger does not mean sober enough to consent. Why not dazzle us with the magic science of how one can go from drunk to sober in 20 seconds (as we all know this is not possible) but it is what they are actually appearing to rely on it. If it was innocence they were after that’s the route to it not character assassination of a rape victim. Which is why I don’t understand why the site isn’t down and charges pressed, not just because of the CCTV, anonymisation does not equal consent, but for all the other reasons which appear tantamount to harassment of a witness.

    • Why don’t you start a petition to have the website taken down?
      Maybe you can also write to the Attorney General to ask for the contempt charges to be reconsidered.
      While you’re at it, maybe you could campaign for Ched Evans’ genitals to be chopped off?
      The man was convicted, justice was done, served his time.
      Now go away to wave your pitch fork at some other male offender please.
      By the way Sky news released the name of the “victim” by mistake. You gonna campaign for a prosecution against them too?

      • I did it again, a mere woman who dared to express an opinion that a man doesn’t like cue angry masculinity. He hasn’t served his time yet actually, so there. As for the rest of your suggestions I will take them under consideration.

        On that not could any of the lawyers on here advise me on the likely duration of a sentence for castration, whilst waving a pitchfork (no previous form and no plea for diminished responsibility unless my brief says otherwise) and in the case of those who either aided and or abetted me how much would they get. Thanks.

        • Not sure what part of my comment constitutes angry masculinity. You see this as a battle of the sexes, I personally find your comments idiotic irrespective of gender.

          • Let me help you out, you suggested that I had…”Evans’ genitals chopped off”; that I “go away and wave my pitchfork at some other male offender, please”; that I… “write to the AG and ask that he reconsiders contempt charges” ad nausea…

            All nice, calm, rational, non-emotive language I suppose you’re going to say. No doubt I’ve got it all wrong because…well I’ll leave that to you.

  2. The Website goes to great lengths to remind people about the victims rights to remain anonymous. Plus, the main purpose of the site is to show the judge overstepped his bounds. The cctv footage shows the victim was not ‘stupefied’ or ‘overpowered’ as outlined in the sexual offences act 2003. Ergo, Evans can claim the defence that he had a reasonable expectation of consent. In much the same way as his Co-defendant did. The only witnesses with memory claim consent, an expert and independent witness stated what the young lady had consumed would not cause memory loss, so it can’t be held against Evans if she forgot she consented. And make no mistake, if she can’t remember and an expert witness rules out alcohol related memory loss, then she did forget. The reason the defence ‘reasonable expectation of consent’ exists is for this very reason. The judge failing to instruct the jury on Bree precedent only reaffirms he stepped over his bounds. He, in closing, stated that Evans ‘should have known (she was ‘too drunk’)’ and yet there is no part of the Sexual Offences Act that covers or defines ‘too drunk’, only ‘stupefied’ or ‘overpowered’. The CCTV footage does not show a woman in either of those states.

    • You missed out the part where Ched Evans entered the hotel room uninvited where he knew his friend was alone with the victim. I guess a woman in a bedroom is, to some men aka rapists, enough to give them a reasonable expectation of consent (as you with your insightful freudian slip put it but I believe it is supposed to be a reasonable belief she was consenting and sweet FA to do with what blokes reasonably expect) due to their sense of entitlement, to have sex with any woman they see fit. You also omitted the bit about the others, also in his group, who went to the outside facing window to film something they couldn’t have known was going to happen, unless of course someone told them it was going to. And as the test of drunkeness is not CCTV footage – remember Henri Paul tying his shoelace perfectly all caught on CCTV (cue conspiracy theory explanation) it proves nothing about sobriety. And the bit where Evans having raped his victim, fled by a fire exit rather than through the front door through which he entered. The onus is on him to prove she consented, and as the two “witnesses” in the room couldn’t even agree who asked for consent only that they asked one another and not the victim, none of his actions evidence he got or had consent much as he likes to protest. Sex without consent (overpowered or not) is rape. He was found guilty because of his own actions and his own words.

  3. From what little I know of the case he was rightly convicted and rightly sentenced, but as long as he does not identify the complainant – which he did not – he can’t be stopped from campaigning – unpleasant though his modus operandi is.

    This jury, let me add, seem to have got it right. They acquitted the other man, whose case was different. If they had been misogynist – or they would have acquitted both; if misandrist, they would have convicted both; if racist, they might well have convicted the other man who was black and acquitted Evans; if celebrity-dazzled, well, again, Evans was better known than his co-defendant. But they convicted the man who was obviously guilty and acquitted the man in whose case they saw doubt which they considered reasonable.

    There are other websites – which I am naturally not going to name – which have named the victim, but in the absence of evidence that Evans provided the name to those concerned, he cannot be held responsible for the damage that does.

  4. L.E.S, It absolutely is not on him to prove he consented. Usually you are innocent until proven guilty…remember that one? Now, you mention Evans entering a room without permission, how did he know the couple were there? Easy, he was invited. MacDonald invited him. First point smashed out of the ball park. Secondly, his Friends filmed it…and yet no footage has ever been recovered and again, how, in the hole hotel did they know which room to stand at? Evans had booked the Hotel Room but there is no evidence he had been there? Home run 2! But But But, Evans left by a fire escape. So what? It was the nearest exit. Plus he offers an account for this that there is no counter evidence for so it really has to be excepted.
    Now, what you conveniently miss out is the speed at which the Police crimed this as a rape. 15 mins I believe it was and at that point there was no suggestion of sex let alone rape! Does that not bother you? The Fact the Police wrote down the name of another footballer who had recently been accused in their major incident log even before they spoke with the complainant? I would love your Feminist rationale on that, L.E.S.

  5. You also fail to mention the night porter who listened at the hotel door and heard what he described as a couple having sex, I would wager that this translates to a woman moaning with pleasure.
    You also skirt round the ‘stupefied’ section of the law by pointing out a man once tied his shoelaces whilst drunk. That isn’t being ‘stupefied’. Basically you need to be passed out drunk, not functioning normally. Not my words but those of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

    • My view as a woman, who is a feminist, is as follows:
      1) It is on Evans to show he had the consent of the victim. If he cannot prove he had consent then it is rape.
      2) Evans was not, as you say, invited to the room by the other bloke, he got a text saying “I’ve got a bird”, asked the taxi driver to take him to the hotel, where he entered the room univited having first, by his own admission, lied to the hotel receptionist to get the key in the first place. What was in that room he needed to get to so badly whatever it was he clearly felt a strong sense of entitlement to get at it.
      2a) The hotel receptionist was suspicious and went to listen outside the room. Why was he suspcious there must have been an alarm bell ringing for some reason.
      3) Previously one of the pair had invited another girl back to that same room for what they euphemistically termed “an after party”.
      4) Why was there no luggage in a room where somoneone was supposed to be staying overnight.
      5) Leaving by a fire exit, rather than the front door IS incriminating, don’t try to pretend to yourself this is normal behaviour after having sex. It’s not, and so what – is dismissive, like it’s an irrelevance when it’s not. There is no reasonable explanation for doing so when most people leave via the front door. “My girlfriend might call me” suddenly he remembers he has a girlfriend.
      6) The police recovered some footage on the phone but it was not clear but it was mentioned in court albeit that is may not have been crystal clear and that in itself in reprehensible. I have no idea why any man would try to film a woman, without her consent, having sex. Why weren’t they prosecuted. It is criminal behaviour and lacking in any morality.
      7) How did they know which room to film, well is it just possible that someone, I wonder who that might have been, told them or did they coincidentally find the room where he was purely by chance. Wonder what the odds on that are.
      8) I pointed out that your brandishing the CCTV evidence of the victim being shown in stop motion as some sort of proof as her sobriety was not the “slam dunk” you appear to love sporting terms you think it is and I provided you with evidence of another drunk caught on CCTV looking completely sober and able to bend down and tie his shoes laces, stand upright and walk away without stagger and giving any clues to his inebriation. You appear to have now gone off on a tangent so I will return to my point.
      9) You appear to suggest that if a woman is conscious it’s okay for a man to have sex with her regardless of her capacity to given consent. Thankfully the law disagrees with you on this point.
      10) As for your beef with the police, they investigated a crime and placed the evidence before the CPS who decided there was a case to answer. I did not mention it because I didn’t know about i. I have no idea how long it took them however having worked for the police I am midly (read extremely) disbelieving of that claim. And if it is indeed the case no it doesn’t bother me, because it does not alter the facts or the evidence, or that the entire matter was put to a jury who determined that he was guilty. That point appears to be a red herring which is typical of the claims made by his supporters.
      That’s my view.

  6. So, with regards to point 1…how would a man ever provide evidence of consent? Signed documentation? A video interview with a perspective sexual partner? Your very argument, is fatally flawed. Thankfully the law doesn’t require a man to prove consent after every bout of intercourse and so it shouldn’t in this case, and yet it seems it has.

    Yes, a court found him guilty, this is why the case has gone to the CCRC and the website was founded. That’s why we are talking, remember?

    Why no luggage in the room? I believe this has also been covered. The room was booked but not cancelled and then used after all. Hardly a smoking gun.

    The Girl could walk straight. Also pay for pizza in exact change. Also ask Evans to “lick me out” which, it is generally accepted she said.

    I bring you back to the independent witness who said what she had consumed would not cause memory loss. She was not as drunk as she seems to maintain.

    The incident log is available on Evans website , you should easily recognise it with your extensive police experience. Both defendants were interviewed without legal advisors. Hardly the behaviour of guilty men who leave through fire escapes, is it?! However if the interviews are admissible is now in question I understand and the CCRC are looking into it.

    I also whole heartedly disagree with point 9. I do not suggest a man can have sex with a woman if she is concious. I have stated the girl was far from comatose and capable of making decisions (pizza or kebab, cash or card, go to hotel with co defendant or not etc). What you have rather clumsily tried to do is what most feminists do which is imply I don’t object to (or even engage in) sexual violence in the hope I will back down and agree to your weak,bigoted argument/s. I won’t. I focus on the facts of one case, not the dozens of others where footballers are cleared of similar accusations. The fact is that you and your ‘sisters’ have hung your hat on this and cannot except that there are inconsistencies.

    The CCRC will reach a conclusion, either way it is no skin off my nose. However a police investigation that seemed to have an outcome before it had even begun is far more troubling particularly when there are people like you in the world that would request people prove the un provable to be considered innocent.

    • More than anything I am fascinated that men seek to defend or justify the behaviour of Ched Evans almost like it could happen to any of us. What civilised human being treats another like this.

      Why did Ched Evans go to that hotel room where he was not invited and did not have a key, he didn’t knock on the door when he could have done, he lied to get the key and then left by the fire exit. His intention in going there that night are clear.

      You can sit in denial all you want but the fact is he went there with one thing in mind. His strong sense of entitlment is what drove him on to satisfy his sexual urges and egomania without any due regard for this victim who was found to be too drunk to consent. Much as men like you throw around words like bigot whenever a woman stands up and rightly calls out rape and rapey attitudes, whether you like it or not, a woman (or man) can be too drunk to give consent and she does not be comatose, through drink, for this to be the case for this to be the case. Sex without consent is rape.

      • Please STOP insulting posters and readers with this inane and fraudulent claim that those making comments are being misogynist.
        There is not one post that examples this and they all seem to be a discussion on whether proof or evidence did or did not prove the claims made and whether the subsequent conviction was justified.
        Repeating this claim about “men” is a form of trolling as it diverts from genuine discussion and forces posters to defend themselves.

        • Please STOP insulting feminists we’re not the ones doing the raping that’s men like it or not.

  7. Also your accusations that Evans felt entitled show the problem you have. You cannot possibly know what Evans felt. There is zero evidence to support your assertion.

    He went to a hotel room he booked after his friend sent him a msg. How did he know to go to that hotel if not invited? Not inconceivable that his co defendant could ‘have a bird’ but at her place, is it. Therefore I think we can construct a case that he was invited.

    His friends filming it…just lucky it was the ground floor….again what are the odds?

    The night porter checked on the room but didn’t call police, why? Because he wasn’t suspicious after what he heard through the door.

    What we can agree on is that every witness with memory says the girl was talking. And yet she didn’t ask Evans to leave when he entered the room, indeed she requested oral sex after Evans asked if he could join in….that seems reasonable for Evans to get involved especially as you point out a person can be drunk but not behave it! The judge says Evans ‘should have known’ (she was drunk) and yet you would disagree?!

  8. She was ‘found to be too drunk to consent’ and yet not in the case of Evans co-defendant. So she went from lucid to stupefied in one shag? Seems unlikely.

    Got a question for you, if someone , a stranger, gives you a tenner on the street and you accept it. How would you prove, if later accused, that you didn’t steal it? You still have not answered my earlier question as to how you would expect a man to prove he had consent. You want it to be up to the man so I would urge you back up your argument with substance.

  9. 1) I wouldn’t accept a tenner off a stranger in the street. However as you pose the hypothetical I would say… hypothetically if they came up to me, offered it to me and I took it. I’d then leave it to the jury to decide who was telling the truth. However this analogy doesn’t work in rape cases. Where the issue is about consent and there are seldom independent witnesses to two people engaged in sexual activity and it is therefore more complex than who the tenner belonged to. Rape is not an even stevens situation.

    2) How would I expect a man to prove he had consent. I would listen to both sides of the argument and the available evidence and determine who I believed was telling the truth on top of that I would consider who was more likely to lie a rapist or a rape victim.

  10. In other words you would believe the woman, because you are a woman. That is why we have a legal system.
    I wouldn’t expect a woman to understand what damage a false rape claim can do. A man can be raped but a woman can never appreciate the damage of a false claim.

    • That’s not what I said and more a case of how you have chosen to interpret my response. “A man can be raped but a woman can never appreciate the damage of a false claim”… the arrogance of men. That is is no way equivalent to being raped yet men will insist on conflating the two. Secondly just how many rapists are there out there who are guilty and who got away with it, effectively falsely claiming to be falsely accused. I think women have more than an appreciation of what it feels like to be damaged by rape and then by a false claim.

  11. Rape and a false accusation are wrongs of a different kind and it is no use comparing apples and oranges.

    This man has the right to try to clear his name – but even if he is innocent there is no need for him to do so in the public way he is doing it, and it is still public although he does not identify the complainant.

    Why the hell is his girlfriend supporting him? On any footing he cheated on her. I can understand why his own family stand by him – that’s part of the job description.

    • So he cannot attempt to clear his name in public ? Even though he has been vilified (correctly or incorrectly) in a concerted and vicious media campaign driven by groups with such a hatred I have rarely witnessed.
      Even Evans’ attempts to re-start his chosen career was undemocratically pursued with a wild successful madness that demonstrated the Twitter Mob and associated social media combined with mainstream media can derail any person’s lawful attempt to re-enter society after they have paid their penance.

  12. Eric, come off it. Nobody has the “democratic” right to a career in a particular line of work. A lot of supporters of the rapist’s former club, not all of them female, made clear that they would withdraw their support if he rejoined. That is their right. At least one sponsor company said they would pull out if he rejoined. That is their right. Supporters of other clubs which were said to be talking to him gave their management the same message. That is their right. If I was on the board of one of those clubs I would rather know how my supporters felt sooner than later.

    This man is poison to any football club, and if he never steps foot on a professional pitch again it will be too soon. The damage to him is as nothing to the damage to the victim FROM THE RAPE ITSELF – never mind from the campaign.

    There was not and is not any need for him to “go public” to exercise his undoubted right to seek a reference by the CCRC to the Court of Appeal.

    Lib-Eg-Sor: He is a victim – of his own lusts, to use an old-fashioned word, his own arrogance, and his own folly. If the CCRC knock him back I hope he will vanish into the obscurity where he belongs.

  13. Not for the first time or the last Shakespeare got it right. From The Rape of Lucrece:

    But she hath lost a dearer thing than life,
    And he hath won what he would lose again.
    This forced league doth force a further strife;
    This momentary joy breeds months of pain;
    This hot desire converts to cold disdain;
    Pure Chastity is rifled of her store,
    And Lust, the thief, far poorer than before.

    Ev’n in this thought through the dark night he stealeth,
    A captive victor that hath lost in gain;
    Bearing away the wound that nothing healeth,
    The scar that will, despite of cure, remain;
    Leaving his spoil perplexed in greater pain.
    She bears the load of lust he left behind,
    And he the burden of a guilty mind.

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