He never spoke to her

The facts of the retrial and acquittal of Ched Evans don’t make it any easier to understand how it happened.

The appeal court judgment – which was made before the retrial, but can only now be reported – allowed new evidence from two witnesses who gave testimony about the complainant’s sexual preferences and the language she used during sex. It led to her being questioned in detail in open court about intimate details of her sex life.

Evans, who has played for Wales and Sheffield United and was a member of the Manchester City youth setup, spent two and a half years in prison after being convicted in 2012 of raping the young woman following a drunken night out in his home town of Rhyl, north Wales.

Following his conviction, a well-funded legal and PR campaign that included the offer of a £50,000 reward for information leading to his acquittal was launched by family and friends. The campaign eventually resulted in the case going to the court of appeal in London, where his conviction was quashed.

So it helps to be rich.

The woman told the jury she woke up naked in a hotel room in Rhyl, north Wales, in May 2011 with no memory of what had happened but fearing that her drinks had been spiked. Friends encouraged her to go to the police, and officers found out that the room in which she woke up had been booked and paid for by Evans. He was questioned, and both he and his friend and fellow footballer Clayton McDonald said they had consensual sex with the woman.

The prosecution said she could not possibly have consented, as she was too intoxicated. She has never alleged that Evans or McDonald raped her.

In court, Evans admitted that he lied to get the key for the hotel room and did not speak to the woman before, during or after sex. He left via a fire exit. It also emerged that Evans’s younger brother and another man were trying to film what was happening from outside the room.

He never spoke to her so how can the sex possibly have been consensual?

I feel sick.

Rachel Krys, co-director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, said: “We are very concerned at the precedent which might have been set. In addition to this, there are reports that the defence offered a ‘bounty’ for such testimony. This is extremely worrying. We will review the case in full and may contact the Crown Prosecution Service and the government about aspects of this case which raise concern.”

Polly Neate, chief executive of Women’s Aid, said: “There is a big risk that this case overall has a negative impact on reporting. Only this week CPS figures revealed a quarter of women are not pursuing cases. If you look at the surrounding maelstrom about this case, it’s easy to see why that is the case.

“A woman’s past sexual history bears no relevance on whether or not they have been a victim of rape. There is a need to challenge pervasive cultural assumptions that equate a woman’s former sexual history with her likelihood of being a victim of rape.”

Not feeling any less sick.

Updating to add – a friend on Facebook tells me the victim never even wanted to prosecute, and she was compelled to testify. Godalfuckingmighty.

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