Should Ched Evans play for Sheffield when he's released from prison?

Should Ched Evans play for Sheffield when he's released from prison?

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Photo from the BBC
Photo from the BBC

We have covered the case of Ched Evans, the Sheffield United player who was jailed for five years for rape in 2012 (here’s our piece on his appeal being dismissed). He will be released in October 2014.

On 13th August 2014 the BBC covered the news that there is a petition that is calling for him not to go back to his old job that has now reached 60,000 signatures.

It’s an interesting question. On the one hand, having a job is the best guarantee for a released prisoner that they don’t re-offend. Also, a conviction should not result in a ‘civil death’ and he has ‘served his time’ and therefore should not suffer further punishment.

On the other, there is the argument that his occupation falls into the category of professions where further restrictions can be placed. Not presumably on the basis that he presents a risk of harm to others, but that as a sportsman he should be a role model.

I can see both sides of the argument. On balance though (and it may be that I have too low an opinion of the role of footballers in society) I don’t see why he should be treated differently to an ‘ordinary’ person because of his celebrity status.

What do you think?

 

 

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

28 COMMENTS

  1. No way should Ched Evans be allowed to play as a footballer again however as Gordon Strachan says there is no morals in football, it’s all about money and when these guys come back the supporters give them a standing ovation see (Marlon King) as an example. Ched Evans has shown no remorse, his supporters named and hounded the victim until she was forced to leave the country, there were prosecution and fines handed up and no-one stood up and condemned them for doing so. Had Ched Evans found a drunken child, in a hotel room, where he had just turned up invited and had sex with her, putting his brother and a friend by an outside window in order to an attempt to film his raping a child, his return would have been out of the question. Why is it okay to rape women, why do footballers and other celebrities believe the law of the land does not apply to them.

  2. From what I have read, it seems that both he and other men have been convicted of rape when the alleged victim was too drunk to recall what happened.

    In these cases, where on Earth is the evidence to suggest rape coming from?

    My guess is that juries in these cases are often hoodwinked into believing that just because a woman was too drunk to remember what happened, this must mean that she was incapacitated at the time – and that the alleged rapist should have noticed this.

    But this is just nonsense

    Think of the times that you, yourself, have gradually gotten really drunk over the course of an evening.

    The following day, you can often barely remember what happened.

    But this does not mean that you must have acted and thought like a completely mindless imbecile for the whole evening!

    Goodness me. I can barely remembered what happened this morning. But this does not mean that I spent the whole of the morning behaving and thinking in a totally irrational manner.

    And my point is this.

    Just because a woman cannot remember what happened during a certain period of time, it does not follow that during this very same period of time other people would have noticed anything wrong with her.

    It would be quite possible for her to think and to behave as normal (or ‘normal’ as far as can be perceived by others) and still not remember on the following day what happened – presumably because the alcohol gradually builds up, gradually debilitates and then, later on, – when the brain is really zapped – messes up the laying down of the long-term memory traces of what happened.

    (Indeed, there is much evidence to suggest that sleep, itself, is a crucial period during which memory traces are processed. And so, abnormal sleep (perhaps because of heavy-drinking) might well stop the brain from putting memories into Long Term Storage. As such, they cannot be recalled the following day.)

    In short, the fact that someone has forgotten what happened does not mean that their brain was impacted by anything significant (or noticeable) during the period which has been forgotten.

    You could meet someone at a party who seems to be functioning perfectly normally and yet who, on the following morning, remembers nothing of meeting you.

    Because she got drunk later on, – or while you were in the process of meeting her.

    All in all, therefore, it seems to me to be a corruption of the justice system for men to be jailed when their alleged victims cannot actually tell the juries what actually happened.

    • Ched Evans admitted in court that he did not seek the consent of his victim. Sex without consent is rape.

      • Thank you for the Court of Appeal link. According to the evidence before them, and presumably at the trial, Evans obtained consent.

        “When she was asked if the applicant could join in, the complainant clearly replied “Yes”. McDonald stopped. The complainant asked the applicant to perform oral sex on her. He did so and then they had sexual intercourse. Throughout all the activities with him she was enthusiastic, wide awake and she consented to everything that happened.”

        The witness statements from both accused appears to be the only evidence that sexual activity had taken place.

        Forensics are only mentioned in relation to the complainant’s blood content, the night porter heard what sounded like sexual activity and no reference is made to any mobile phone content.

        There appears to be no evidence or witnesses to suggest consent was not given and two witnesses stating consent was given.

        That would point to the jury reaching its verdict on the subject of capacity to give consent. A verdict, in my opinion, somewhat bizarre. On what basis did the jury differentiate the capacity ?

        The trial judge, given the summing up, would have delivered guilty verdicts to both accused had he have been on the jury that week.

        • It’s not just the fact that she was extremely drunk, though that in itself should be reason enough to understand the person is not capable of consent. (There was extensive evidence that she was incapacitated by alcohol, CCTV, witness accounts etc.)

          The other evidence was the way McDonald picked up a stranger who was obviously very drunk, then texted Evans to say ‘I’ve got a bird’. Evans turned up shortly after this, and according to his statement he had her consent, but then McDonald left, telling the porter to look out for the girl in room 14 because she’s sick.

          Evans then continued to have sex with her, then left by the fire exit about half an hour later, met his friend outside then they went back to Evans home. (begging the question, why did they need the hotel room in the first place?). At no point did they phone back to check to see if she was alive or dead, yet they knew she was sick. They treated her as though she wasn’t a real human being, having sex with an extremely drunk, sick, 19 year old woman that they had picked up off the street. She was clearly vulnerable and had texted a friend earlier to say ‘where are you?’ but got no reply. Just because she was dolled up and out drinking does not imply she was ‘up for it’ with two complete strangers while semi comatose and ill.

          These men know they’re guilty. But look at their family and peer groups – all spouting misogynistic remarks on social media (9 people fined for offensive remarks) These people are extremely ignorant and indicative of why much of our society has a long way to go in terms of sexism, and racism, homophobia, agism and all the other negative isms

          What’s most sickening is his lack of remorse, but also the fact that, had it been a man he’d raped do you think his fans, or the football club would support him? Football clubs such as Sheffield FC are sexist, homophobic, greedy, idiotic and utterly deserving of contempt.

    • I do not see how the conviction of Ched Evans could be just. Two men had sex with the alleged victim in identical circumstances, both said that that it was consensual, one was acquitted and one was convicted. The case against the two men was identical.

      But even if he were guilty of rape of course he should be allowed to play football again. He has served his lawful sentence and should now be free to earn a living.

      • The circumstances were not identical.

        The victim, who was drunk, went to the hotel willingly with Clayton MacDonald, Clayton texted Evans to say “I’ve got a girl”. Ched Evans arrived at the hotel, misled the receptionist into giving him a key and entered the hotel room where they were uninvited. Outside the window he arranged for his brother and a pal to film into the room on a mobile phones and they were in place before he got there. How did they know there’d be something to film, surely he communicated his intention? All of this without the knowledge of the victim. Once in the room, he doesn’t ask the victim for her consent instead he asks MacDonald if he can have sex with her. When he has finished he leaves the hotel room via a fire exit rather than the front door.

        In my view the both should have got sent down as she was clearly too drunk to give consent to either of them but one of them walked because he could argue that he believed her to be consenting presumably because she went to the hotel with him but in no way can the circumstances said to be identical.

  3. Should someone who has served their sentence be allowed to return to work on release?

    How can the answer to this question not be “of course”?

    • How can the answer to this question not be “of course”. It’s about the use of celebrity status as a way of condoning illegality and criminal actions. Ched Evans has shown no remorse for his crime let’s start with that yet he wants to swan back in and resume where he left off. What about his victim whose life he has destroyed.

      And to address your point would you let a convicted paedophile work with children? The answer is of course not. It’s too loose an argument to say once they’ve done their time the slate is wiped clean.

      • Nice cut straight to hysteria: “would you let a convicted paedophile work with children?”.

        Hardly a parallel. Ched Evans works with other footballers. For your comparison to make sense he would have to be playing with and against drunk young women. 10 points for the escalation, though, well done.

        • It is an exact parallel. Ched Evans is a convicted rapist. Footballers are revered, idolised and seen as role models by their supporters what sort of is example does it set and when would is say if he returns to professional football on a national and international level. What you are doing, which is the want of rape apologists, is attempting to trivialise rape. Why should a rapist be allowed to swagger back onto the football pitch as though what he did was nothing. In the same way and no-one would be so stupid as to allow a paedophile anywhere near children again. Unless raping women doesn’t matter. You’ll excuse me if I beg to differ and even if you don’t I still disagree.

          As for the rest of your post e.g. hysteria etc same old story from men who resent a woman a) having an opinion and b) and opinion which differs from there. 10 out of 10 for being the same as all the rest.

        • It is an exact parallel. Ched Evans is a convicted rapist. Footballers are revered, idolised and seen as role models by their supporters what sort of example does it set and what does it say if he returns to professional football on a national and or international level. What you are doing, which is the want of rape apologists, is attempting to trivialise rape. Why should a rapist be allowed to swagger back onto the football pitch as though what he did was nothing. In the same way as no-one would be so stupid as to allow a paedophile anywhere near children again. Unless raping women doesn’t matter. You’ll excuse me if I beg to differ and even if you don’t I still disagree.

          As for the rest of your post e.g. hysteria etc same old story from men who resent a woman a) having an opinion and b) and opinion which differs from theirs. 10 out of 10 for being the same as all the rest.

  4. “And to address your point would you let a convicted paedophile work with children? The answer is of course not. ”

    LOL! Talk about hysterical.

    What are you going to suggest next? Perhaps that Ched should never be allowed to be anywhere near any woman?

    IMO, he’s done the time. End of.

    Enough of all this male-hatred emanating from the “Sisterhood” – most of whose members seem to know precious little about men or women.

    “What about his victim whose life he has destroyed.”

    Rubbish. It’s people like you who want to make victims feel that their life is ruined. What a malicious and spiteful thing to say to them – somewhat proving that your aim is promoting male-hatred, rather than having any concern for victims.

    No-one who cares about victims tells them that their life is ruined.

  5. Ah but this is the thing – he hasn’t yet “done the time”. He will still be serving the sentence. He will be released at half way point but will be on licence for the remaining period of his sentence – and subject to recall if he breaches any licence conditions.

    The decision therefore will rest with Probation as to whether allowing him to play football professionally represents a risk of harm to the public, or is consistent with his long term rehabilitation etc.

    You may recall Boy George unsuccessfully tried to persuade probation he should be permitted to earn money on Celeb Big Brother. He was prevented from doing so and lost the JR of Probation.

    • Why would probation not let him return to his previous role ? Erm how about the fact he poses a risk of harm to the public?

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