Ched Evans wins rape conviction appeal

Former Sheffield United and Wales striker Ched Evans has won his appeal against his rape conviction.

Footballer Ched Evans has won his appeal against his conviction for raping a 19-year-old woman.

But Court of Appeal judges in London have ordered that he must face a fresh trial.

The decision was announced on Thursday following appeal proceedings last month.

The former Sheffield United striker and Welsh international was present in the packed London courtroom with girlfriend Natasha Massey by his side to hear the result of his conviction challenge.

Lady Justice Hallett, Mr Justice Flaux and Sir David Maddison had heard submissions over two days from Kieran Vaughan QC, for Evans, and from Eleanor Laws QC, for the Crown.

Lady Justice Hallett, announcing the court's decision, said the judges had heard "fresh evidence" during the appeal hearing on March 22 and 23.

She said: "In summary, we have concluded that we must allow the appeal and that it is in the interests of justice to order a retrial."

The court quashed Evans's conviction and declared: "The appellant will be retried on the allegation of rape."

Ched Evans Wins Rape Conviction Appeal
Ched Evans Wins Rape Conviction Appeal

Evans, now 27, was convicted in April 2012. He was found guilty at Caernarfon Crown Court of raping the woman at a hotel in Rhyl, North Wales.

Evans protested his innocence from the outset, maintaining that the girl consented to sex.

An initial appeal failed, but following a review by the Criminal Cases Review Commission the case was referred back to the appeal court last year.

In a statement, Ched Evans' family said: "We all welcome today's decision by the Court of Appeal. The evidence which had been previously unseen proved without doubt that Ched Evans is and has always been innocent.

"Ched would like to thank all of his family, friends, legal team and football supporters from around the country especially those of Sheffield United for their support, encouragement and belief."

Evans played for Manchester City and scored 42 goals in 103 league games for Sheffield United, as well as representing Wales in 13 matches.

This is how events in the case unfolded:

  • May 30, 2011 - Evans, then a Sheffield United striker, is arrested on suspicion of sexual assault at a Premier Inn near Rhyl, north Wales.

  • April 20, 2012 - He is convicted of raping a 19-year-old woman and sentenced to five years in prison following a trial at Caernarfon Crown Court.

  • May 30, 2012 - Evans is released by Sheffield United at the end of the football season.

  • November 6, 2012 - The Court of Appeal refuses him leave to appeal his conviction or reduce the length of his sentence.

  • October 17, 2014 - Evans is released from prison after serving half of his sentence.

  • November 11, 2014 - Sheffield United faces a public backlash after saying it would let him train with them, an offer it later withdrew. TV presenter and club patron Charlie Webster quits and Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill demands her name be taken off the Bramall Lane stand in protest.

  • October 5, 2015 - Evans's case is referred to the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Case Review Commission on the basis of new information after a 10-month investigation.

  • March 22, 2016 - The appeal hearing is held at the High Court in London.

  • April 21, 2016 - Evans wins appeal against conviction and is granted unconditional bail. Court of Appeal orders a fresh indictment "must be served" and that "the appellant must be re-arraigned on that fresh indictment within two months of today". The venue of the retrial, the trial judge and the date of the retrial "will be determined by the Senior Presiding Judge for the Wales Circuit", Mrs Justice Nicola Davies.