The former Welsh International, Ched Evans, has today been cleared of raping a nineteen year old woman following a retrial at Cardiff Crown Court.
Evans, who served half a five year sentence after being convicted of rape in 2012, had his conviction quashed by the Court of Appeal earlier this year.
Jurors took two and a half hours to acquit Evans, after they heard new evidence relating to the claimant that surfaced last year.
Mrs Justice Davies told Evans after the decision had been read out:
“Mr Evans, you are discharged and you can leave the dock.”
Evans’ solicitor, Shaun Draycott, read a statement from the 27 year old which said that he was “overwhelmed with relief” following the verdict. He thanked his family and friends, “most notably my fiancee, Natasha, who chose, perhaps incredibly, to support me in my darkest hour”.
The statement concluded:
“Whilst my innocence has now been established, I wish to make it clear that I wholeheartedly apologise to anyone who might have been affected by the events of the night in question.”
Recap: Conviction, Appeal & Retrial
In 2012 Evans was found guilty of raping a 19 year old woman at a hotel in Rhyl, North Wales. The 27 year old was released from jail two and a half years later.
The ex-Welsh international admitted having sex with the woman, however he has always maintained his innocence, claiming the encounter was consensual.
Following a ten month investigation by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), responsible for investigating possible miscarriages of justice, it was revealed in October 2015 that new evidence had surfaced. Following the announcement of the new evidence, which the CCRC said ‘raises a real possibility the Court of Appeal may now quash the conviction’, Evans’ case was referred to the Court of Appeal.
Lady Justice Hallet later announced that Evans’ conviction had been quashed, but that a retrial would take place.
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Source: The Guardian