Ched Evans sues original trial lawyers
Ched Evans, the former Sheffield United football player, is suing his trial lawyers for professional negligence in an attempt to recoup lost earnings following his conviction for rape in 2012. Prior to his conviction in April 2012 he was a striker for Sheffield United earning around £18,000 per week. The Press Association have reported that the civil case will be heard at the High Court in April 2019.
Evans, 29, who served two and a half years of his five year sentence, had exhausted his appeal options having been refused permission to appeal his conviction in October 2012. New solicitors were instructed in 2014 and an application was made to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC). Following the unlawful disclosure of the complainant’s name on social media two witnesses came forward providing information regarding the complainant’s sexual history which formed the ‘new evidence’ to push forward for an appeal. The Court of Appeal quashed Evans’ conviction in 2016 and a retrial was ordered.
The retrial coveted controversy amongst commentators as, following a successful application of his new trial lawyers under section 41 Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999, the complainant was cross-examined about her sexual history (as a result of the new evidence that came forward from witnesses following the trial). Following an eight-day trial at Cardiff Crown Court in October 2016 Evans was unanimously acquitted by the jury.
Evans ran the same defence at both trials, that the sexual intercourse was consensual. In the retrial the jury heard evidence from other men who had had consensual sex with the complainant and who testified that her sexual behaviour was similar to that with Evans described in his defence. This type of cross-examination of a complainant is only permissible when the sexual history is ‘so similar that it cannot be explained as a coincidence’.
A spokesperson for Brabners, his original legal team, said “Brabners put forward a strong defence of the criminal case against Ched Evans following a thorough process and we are vigorously defending our handling of the case. We believe the claim for damages is entirely without merit”
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