Well, many of us were not surprised, even if still shocked, last month by the latest verdict concerning Ched Evans’ disgusting sexual exploitation of a vulnerable woman [reportedly blind drunk (possibly drink spiked), who had no recollection of her mistreatment] at the invitation of one of his footballer mates, weren’t we?
The situation behind his first trial, when he was found guilty, and this re-trial was last covered here in a blog last April [The British Justice System and Ched Evans – how does it work?], which recorded how it came about. It concluded that the new trial would be quite changed from the first as different circumstances prevailed accompanied with then stale evidence after 5 years, that would alter the whole nature and perception of things (and not least because the other previously accused man who unbelievable got off (?), obviously wasn’t in the dock facing charges alongside him). It was clear that such a retrial was unlikely to result in delivering obvious justice – and so it indeed turned out, eh?).
It beggars belief to many observers that a jury found Evans “Not Guilty”, or indeed either that his mate had escaped justice and jail at the original trial. The woman they had sex with (as their two friends spied-on from outside and filmed on their phones) was inescapably incapable of ‘giving consent’ – that in English law makes it rape, doesn’t it? In Evans’ case he had never EVEN met the girl or knew who she was, but had been called by phone to invite him to the hotel to get his end away with the clearly incapacitated woman.
In the past, many-many rapists have got away with it at their trials, by their Defence barristers effectively putting the victim herself ‘on trial’ in the witness box and aggressively exposing their sexual history in a manner that discredited their claim that they had been raped on the occasion in question, for which their client was on trial. Steps were taken to put a stop to all that well over a decade ago and judges unbelievably had to be ‘instructed’ not to allow it (expect in exceptional circumstances).
The example of the past was certainly not lost on the defence barristers in Evans’ retrial and they mercilessly battered the victim for days on end when she gave her evidence.
Now why Judge Lady Justice Nicola Davies ruled it was a rare case so allowed this travesty of justice god only knows, or why she considered the accused deserved such ‘special treatment’ is incomprehensible to most observers, and why she thought it would be appropriate to allow forensic examination of the woman’s sexual behaviour is bizarre and disgraceful, don’t you think? Then she also allowed the Defence to call two male witnesses to recount tainted potentially fabricated evidence of their sexual history with the victim and to graphically describe their prior consensual sexual encounters with the woman, indeed with the supposed positions assumed and the claimed words uttered, to trash the woman’s sexual past which was inexcusable, surely? These two so called “witnesses” (who weren’t even there) apparently may even have been solicited by media offers from Evans’ supporters of substantial monetary awards to give favourable ‘new evidence’, (and furthermore it seems that one of these was actually ‘available’ and unused at the Evans’ initial trial.
A woman’s prior sexual history in having had in the past similar ‘consenting’ sexual intercourse surely can’t cast any light whatsoever on what happened in a different isolated incident, can it? The suggestion accepted in the Evans’ Court that consenting with previous sexual partners means that a woman was asking for it, simply makes some women, say like prostitutes, unrapable as far as the law is concerned, doesn’t it? Surely, that is an unacceptable and horrific interpretation of this Country’s lawful protection of all females against rape?
Moreover, the Evans verdict goes directly against the sixty-year-old law on sexual offences that clearly states that a woman is incapable of giving valid consent if unaware by reason of drink, drugs, sleep, age, or mental disability. Why then was Evans’ lawyers allowed in Court to defend his actions by claiming that an obviously drunken woman nevertheless consented despite having no memory of the incident? Why did the bloody judge allow that invalid defence and why did she not make the law clear to the jury before they gave a verdict, do you think? What happened here was not remotely acceptable, hence many of those at the centre of the legal process are aghast and unsurprisingly general condemn the way this rape trial was run.
Furthermore, we know that the family and friends of Evans had offered a £50,000 reward/bribe? for information “leading to his acquittal” and Evans’ crowd escaped due justice for that as well as setting up a website to “obtain evidence” in his favour and posting CCTV footage that illegitimately showed the victim (the CPS concluded there was insufficient evidence on breaching victim anonymity only because the footage had been pixelated, so was deemed insufficiently distinctive to publicly identify the victim – but what does that tell you about the Evans’ despicable camp’s objectives and intensions, eh?). What does the whole sick story tell you about the gutter values of his doormat cheated-on fiancée girlfriend and her father, eh?
It is said that Evans’ benefactors have spent half a million pounds on their private investigator and media efforts to get him acquitted and the same on legal costs – how can success achieved that way be allowed, in what is supposed to be a society where the law treats all individuals as equal irrespective of wealth or position, eh?
It is a disturbing situation that we live in a rape culture where there are probably hundreds of women raped here in Britain every day – that is a hundred thousand every year (and also some four times that number are sexually assaulted). Without doubt, what happened in this trial has set-back justice in Britain for rape by some three or four decades and is reminiscent of a long forgotten misogynistic past (and the current acts of ISIS indeed), so this footballer’s case has set a dangerous precedent with dire potential ramifications, hasn’t it? That all comes about in an already disgusting situation whereby in this Country the justice system lets the women down, and rape is on the increase because the rapists get away with it, don’t they? [An abysmal performance by the system – it is said that only one percent of the rapists are caught and convicted].
There aren’t really accurate numbers because the majority of women don’t report rape do they due to the shame they feel, and because if it even ever gets to court they are pilloried there, their reputations impugned, and they are often mercilessly attacked in social media, as clearly happened in the Evans case – even though the victim there had admitted that she had not known what was done to her, so she cannot be accused of fabricating a story, can she?
Evans is retried and now acquitted of a criminal offence, despite his own admission of disgusting and morally unacceptable behaviour, so he has walked away free to now widely proclaim his “innocence has now been established”, as the law he says has now ‘cleared’ him. However, that is simply because our law allows only two trial outcomes – ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’, with the latter verdict meaning in fact only that the prosecution didn’t sufficiently ‘prove’ guilt and not that the defendant was actually innocent. What do the rest of us think in this case though, eh?
The way that unacceptable things happened in this trial, follows-on from many other disturbing factors involved in the Evans’ case. First it ought to be said that he was an extremely rich and famous footballer and furthermore that he has been supported, counseled, and bankrolled in his quest to overturn his initial clear conviction for rape in 2012 (and the following absolute failure of his appeal), by an extremely well connected and influential billionaire (indeed his future father-in-law).
He was released having served only half of his 5-year jail sentence (as our inadequate penal system allows), then immediately applied for his case to be reviewed by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), which normally would primarily deal with clear-cut ‘miscarriages of justice’ rather than a non-urgent half-spent case from a celebrity footballer, eh? Unbelievable his application to the CCRC was then given preferential treatment and ‘fast tracked’ and the CCRC inexplicably spent an unusually surprising amount of effort on it, despite the fact that it was jumping the queue of thousands of others (those more deserving as many had been waiting years and were still behind bars) – how comes he got such privileged treatment, do you think? There is a well-known saying that ‘It’s Not What You Know. It’s Who You Know’, isn’t there? Or one more, ‘there’s one law for the rich and another for the poor’, perhaps?
Once again we have seen a rape trial where prejudice was poured in to secure a disgraceful verdict, which is exactly what used to happen before the law in 1999 stopped the admission of previous sexual history in order to show consent.
Understandably, the bamboozled jury, lacking proper direction and faced with conflicting pressures could not be sure, ‘beyond reasonable doubt’, about the issue of sexual consent, could they?
Now the discredited morally defunct Evans will no doubt unperturbed get on with his undeserving privileged rich vile existence, while the teenage waitress victim’s life has been destroyed, not least by the trolls set loose by Evans’ entourage and the torrent of offensive comments hurled against her for the past five years. She has been tormented and repeatedly identified (including now after the retrial) by Evans’ cohorts who have basically got off with their offences, suffered continuous online and street abuse including death threats, hounded, harassed and smeared beyond belief, had to change her name and move four or five times in three years after Evans was first charged and convicted, so she now lives her life on the run and may even have to flee the Country to start a new life – the authorities here are wilfully at fault, surely?
[Ched Evans is not someone deserving of sympathy so you can still call him a scumbag, but you are no longer allowed to call him a rapist – well at least not in public, eh?]