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Ched Evans appears at court for rape review

Arriving at court Credit: ITV News Ailsa Chalk

Former Sheffield United striker Ched Evans has appeared in court today - surrounded by a media scrum - for a review of his rape conviction.

Evans, who is 27, was released from prison in 2014 after serving half of his five-year sentence for raping a 19-year-old woman.

His case has been referred to the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission, which investigates possible miscarriages of justice.

Former Sheffield United striker to hear appeal against rape conviction

Former Sheffield United striker Ched Evans is to have his appeal against his rape conviction heard today.

Ched Evans during his trial Credit: PA

The Criminal Cases Review Commission referred Evan's case to the Court of Appeal on the basis of new information not raised at his trial.

They believe that the new evidence could see his conviction quashed.

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Date set for Ched Evans rape conviction appeal

Ched Evans set to appeal conviction Credit: PA

Former Sheffield United striker Ched Evans is to have his appeal against his rape conviction heard in court later this month.

His case has been listed to take place at the Court of Appeal in London on March 22nd.

In October last year, the Criminal Cases Review Commission referred his case to the Court of Appeal on the basis of new information not raised at his trial which the body said raised ‘a real possibility that the Court of Appeal may now quash the conviction’.

The Court of Appeal will now decide whether to uphold or overturn the conviction or order a retrial. Evans was convicted in 2012 of rape and was released last year halfway through a five-year jail term.

A 49-page document setting out the reasons for the decision has been sent to Evans’ legal team, along with the Court of Appeal and the Crown Prosecution Service. But the document has not been made public.

Following his release from prison, Evans has made several attempts to restart his professional career. But potential moves to clubs including Sheffield United and Oldham have fallen through following public outcry.

Ched Evans appeal decision delayed

Ched Evans Credit: PA

More investigation is needed before a decision is made on Ched Evans' appeal against his rape conviction.

The Criminal Cases Review Commission met yesterday to consider the former Sheffield United and Wales striker's appeal - Evans was convicted in 2012 of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old in a hotel in Wales. Today the Commission revealed further investigation was needed, before they meet again to make a final decision. No date has been set for that meeting.

Probe into naming of Evans victim

Jeremy Wright QC has also asked North Wales police to look into whether material served during the court case in 2012 has been dealt with "properly".

Footballer Evans was released from prison last year after serving two-and-a-half years for the rape of a 19-year-old woman in a hotel, but continues to protest his innocence.

The Attorney General, Jeremy Wright QC MP, has asked the Crown Prosecution Service to consider whether any criminal offences may have been committed in regards to identifying the victim in the Ched Evans case. He has also asked the North Wales police to investigate whether some of the material served during the course of the proceedings has been dealt with properly. If not, this may constitute a contempt of court. Given that there is now the possibility of proceedings being brought, it is very important that there is no comment in the media which might jeopardise either the investigation or any subsequent proceedings.

– spokeswoman for the Attorney General
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Investigation into possible crime committed in identifying Ched Evans' victim

The Attorney General has asked prosecutors to examine whether any criminal offences were committed by those accused of revealing the identity of the victim in the Ched Evans rape case.

Evans was convicted of rape in 2012 and served half of his five-year prison sentence behind bars.

The Attorney General, Jeremy Wright QC MP has asked the Crown Prosecution Service to consider whether any criminal offences may have been committed in regards to identifying the victim in the Ched Evans case.

He has also asked the North Wales police to investigate whether some of the material served during the course of the proceedings has been dealt with properly.

If not, this may constitute a contempt of court.

– Spokeswoman for the Attorney General

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Hull manager backs Ched Evans deal

Hull boss Steve Bruce has disclosed he was one of the Premier League managers who contacted Oldham to give his support to their moves to sign convicted rapist Ched Evans.

Hull manager backs Ched Evans deal Credit: Press Association

Oldham pulled the plug on a deal on Thursday after a storm of opposition but Bruce said he believed Evans should have been given a second chance.

The League One club's chairman Simon Corney had said three Premier League managers had offered him their support and Bruce confirmed he was one of those:

I have to be honest and say yes. I've known Simon for a lot of years now. He'd looked at the case too. He was of the opinion to give the kid a chance. I can only say on behalf of myself, I know I might be upsetting people but there is a question of the rape and how he's been convicted by a jury. When you look at the evidence, it is there for appeal.

– Steve Bruce

Evans was refused leave to appeal but his case is now going before the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC).

I'm a big believer that if you have done your time everyone deserves a second chance, we have seen footballers involved with accidents and being given a second chance. It's a very difficult situation for everyone concerned. It's a pity they could not have the appeal and get it over and done with.

It has divided opinion of course and when you look at the case in detail and, I don't think most people have really, because they have just seen Ched Evans as a convicted rapist, when you do look at the case and look at the evidence then certainly Ched has got a case. For me the appeal can't come quick enough for Ched. It must be a frustrating and difficult time for him and I think the events of the appeal, for me, will see Ched be allowed to play football again.

– Steve Bruce

The CCRC is an independent public body that reviews possible miscarriages of justice in the criminal courts of England, Wales and Northern Ireland and refers cases to the appeal courts.

Tina Gelder reports.

Taylor apologises for Hillsborough comparison

The head of the Professional Footballers' Association Gordon Taylor has apologised after he appeared to compare the Ched Evans controversy with the Hillsborough disaster, saying in an interview: "The last thing I intended to do was to upset anybody connected to the Hillsborough case".

The point I was making was not to embarrass or upset anybody at all among the Liverpool supporters. I'm very much an admirer of them and they know that.

That was never my intention but it was the fact that how things at one time can be perceived one way but come out very differently with the passage of time. If people feel that way (offended) about what I said, I can only apologise.

– Gordon Taylor

Hillsborough researcher slams Taylor's 'crass error of judgement'

Professor Phil Scraton, the lead researcher and primary author of the Hillsborough independent panel report, said in an interview Mr Taylor should apologise to victims' families and survivors for a "crass error of judgment".

Professor Phil Scraton said in an interview Mr Taylor should apologise to victims' families and survivors for a "crass error of judgment". Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

And he suggested the comments could amount to "interference with the due process" of fresh inquests into the fans' deaths.

To conflate this with the institutional failings and demonstrable injustices (of Hillsborough) is crass, it's insensitive and it's inappropriate," he said in an interview.

It's particularly of concern that he chooses to make this statement when he knows only too well, as we all do, that the inquests that have been running since March and will run for at least another year are in process.

And we have very clear guidelines from the coroner about the publication and broadcast of comments regarding liability in relation to Hillsborough.

So on both counts - the comparison, which is completely inappropriate and also the kind of interference with the due process which is happening at the moment - it is a crass error of judgment. "There should be a retraction of his comments and it should be accompanied by an apology to the Hillsborough families and also the Hillsborough survivors for any offence that he might have caused.

– Phil Scraton
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Twitter users slam PFA chief's comments on Ched Evans

Twitter users have reacted angrily to the comments from PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor comparing Ched Evans' situation to that of Hillsborough victims' families.

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