Ched Evans has been found not guilty of rape in a retrial in Cardiff crown court, following his 2012 conviction. Evans finished serving time for his conviction in 2014, but still chose to pursue appeals, eventually being granted a retrial. The jury deliberated for two hours before returning a unanimous verdict.
Evans has continuously claimed that he had consensual sex with his accuser. The prosecution argued that she has no recollection of the encounter and was too intoxicated to consent. Evans was initially convicted on the basis of evidence that appeared to prove the victim's inability to consent, but during his retrial, new evidence was introduced that is usually not allowed in rape trials.
"But it has all these exceptions, and clever lawyers can get round it," Lisa Longstaff of advocacy group Women Against Rape told The Guardian. "Here they've driven a coach and horses through the supposed protection. It's a classic defence tactic. They bring in previous partners to trash her character."
The defense was allowed to use evidence from the accuser's past sexual partners, which they juxtaposed against Evans' testimony in an attempt to establish that she consented on the night of the encounter in question. This case could set a dangerous precedent for allowing that type of evidence to be introduced, allowing defense teams to put a victim's character on trial, rather than being forced to argue the facts of a case itself.
Evans currently plays for Chesterfield in the third tier of English soccer.