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Ched Evans to achieve immortality in new rape law?

by | 27th, October 2016

More news on Ched Evans, the low-life footballer found not guilty of raping a woman. AOL says the the Attorney General has suggested “the law could be changed to give greater protection to alleged rape victims following the Ched Evans case”.

 

Ched Evans rape law

Evans below

 

In “Ched Evans trial: Government considers rape law change”, the BBC adds:

Labour has condemned the decision to allow the jury to hear details about the sexual history of the complainant.

When the jury had not head about the alleged victim’s sexual history – in particular a phrase she used during sex – Evans was found guilty of rape beyond any reasonable doubt and imprisoned. When the woman’s sexual history was made known, he was found not guilty of rape. Her sexual history was important in the case for the defence.

Attorney General Jeremy Wright told the Commons it was not “routinely used” in such cases, but there was “a concern”.

It is a huge concern. A cartoon in this week’s Private Eye magazine has the judge asking jurors: “Do you find the accused ‘Guilty’ or ‘Not Guilty’ of raping the dreadful slapper?”

Jeremy Wright QC told Attorney General Questions in the Commons:

“We need to understand more about the decision in this particular case, we need to understand whether a change in the law is appropriate, and if not whether it is sensible to look at the guidance that is given to judges about when this evidence is admissible and the guidance that judges give to juries about how that evidence should be used.

“I think we need to do all of those things before we are in a position to understand what, if any, changes are needed…

“We must be confident that the message sent to those who may be currently worried about reporting these sorts of offences is not that they are not encouraged to do so, quite the reverse, they are, and we need to make sure that those messages are clear.”

The Secret Barrister notes:

…we all know that section 41 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act prohibits leading evidence or asking questions concerning a complainant’s previous sexual behaviour in sex cases. There are certain exceptions to this rule, and the Court of Appeal found in Ched Evans’ case that the complainant X’s previous sexual behaviour was relevant to the issue of consent and was “so similar” to the sexual behaviour of X at the time of the alleged rape that “the similarity cannot reasonably be explained as a coincidence”.

The precedent that has been set is none. The Court of Appeal decision sets down no new application of law or principle, and section 41 continues to operate exactly as it did before, excluding the vast, vast majority of questions about previous sexual behaviour. The newspapers, activists and charities propagating this false message are needlessly terrifying present and future victims, and will only risk deterring them from coming forward.

Do we need a new rule?

Whatever happened in this unusual case is unlikely to have any wider application; certainly there is nothing that suggests the Court intends to widen the scope of section 41. Victims should not be scared to come forward on the basis of what is being said, loudly and inaccurately, by those who should know better.

As for the not-guilty-of-rape Ched Evans, well, his name could become part of reworked law governing rapes. You might not like him, but does an innocent man deserve that?



Posted: 27th, October 2016 | In: Reviews, Sports Comment | TrackBack | Permalink