Ched Evans: Law used to secure acquittal to be reviewed

Ched Evans: Law used to secure acquittal to be reviewed

Ched Evans and his fiancee Natasha Massey leaving the court after his acquittal

Friday, November 18, 2016

A Government minister has annouced that the law which played a key role in the acquittal of Ched Evans is to be reviewed due to concerns it could deter women from reporting sexual assault.

The Welsh footballer was initially convicted of raping a 19-year-old woman but the decision was overturned after he had served two and a half years of his jail sentence.

The acquittal was secured following the testimony of two men who had sex with the woman at a similar time to Evans. This decision raised concerns of women being discouraged from reporting sexual assaults because the legal system could examine their sexual history. 

Vera Baird, a former solicitor-general, said at the time the case would take Britain back "about 30 years". Home Office minister Baroness Williams of Trafford insisted a review would be undertaken after hearing fears over the admissibility of a victim's sexual history.

She said: "We accept that the concern should be looked at and we intend to deal with it.

"We have committed to looking at how the law is working in practice and will do so as expeditiously as possible, to understand whether any further action needs to be taken."

Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames urged change in Section 41 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999.

He said: "The appeal in the Ched Evans case has raised fears that complainants will be deterred from reporting rape because they might be cross-examined about their sexual history.

"Those fears are real and if they are justified that would suggest that a change to Section 41 is necessary."