Trial verdict 14th October 2016
17 Oct 2016
On Friday 14th October, the footballer Ched Evans was found not guilty at retrial of the rape of a woman in 2011.
Ed Beltrami, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS Wales said:
“We respect the decision of the jury today. This case hinged on the issue of sexual consent – that someone consents if they agree by choice and have the freedom and capacity to make that choice. Being drunk does not mean a person relinquishes their right to consent, that they are to blame for being attacked or that they were ‘fair game’.
The prosecution argued that the complainant did not have the capacity to consent, but the jury found they could not be sure, beyond reasonable doubt, that the complainant did not consent, or that Evans thought she was not consenting.
I would like to thank the complainant for her courage throughout this case, and the previous trial.”
Since April 2012, when Evans was found guilty on the same charge at his original trial, this case has seen unprecedented levels of abuse and violent threats directed very publicly towards the complainant, who was named on social media despite her lifelong legal right to remain anonymous. It has been widely reported that she has had to change her identity and move home a number of times as a result.
We ask those discussing this case both on and offline in the days and weeks to come to remember that there is never any excuse or justification for any rape complainant to suffer the kind of abuse and ordeal she has endured.
Crime figures estimated 85,000 women and 12,000 men are raped in England and Wales every year (including assault by penetration and attempts) and the vast majority - around 85% - choose not to report to the police, for a range of reasons including fear of not being believed, of being blamed and of being treated poorly by the criminal justice system. We appeal to commentators to remember the large number of sexual violence victims and survivors who will inevitably be among their audience when they write or talk about this case and to take care not to propagate harmful myths and stereotypes about rape.
Rape Crisis centres offer specialist, independent support and advocacy services to those who've experienced rape and all forms of sexual violence, no matter how recently or long ago and regardless of whether or not they choose to report to the police.
If you've been affected by the coverage of this case and want to talk and be heard, you can find information about our helplines and your nearest Rape Crisis services here.