Top prosecutor defends Nigel Evans charges

The Director of Public Prosecutions has defended the decision to prosecute former Commons deputy speaker Nigel Evans over a string of sex offences charges, saying victims of sex crimes do not always consider themselves victims.

Latest ITV News reports

Granada

Top prosecutor defends Nigel Evans charges

The Director of Public Prosecutions has defended the decision to prosecute Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans over a string of sex offence charges, saying victims of such offences do not always consider themselves victims.

Alison Saunders defended the Crown Prosecution Service's handling of the case against the former Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons, who wept in the dock yesterday after a jury at Preston Crown Court unanimously cleared him of nine sexual allegations, including one of rape.

Advertisement

DPP Alison Saunders defends Nigel Evans prosecution

The Director of Public Prosecutions has defended the decision to prosecute former Commons deputy speaker Nigel Evans over a string of sex offences charges, saying victims of sex crimes do not always consider themselves victims.

Nigel Evans wept in court yesterday after being cleared of all charges. Credit: Press Association

Mr Evans wept in court yesterday after a jury at Preston Crown Court unanimously cleared him of nine sexual allegations.

Read: Nigel Evans cleared of sex charges

Fellow MPs flocked to his defence following the verdict, calling for the CPS to face serious questions over their handling of the case.

Alison Saunders told BBC Breakfast: "Victims themselves may not always think of themselves as victims, it rather depends on the relationship they are in with their alleged abusers.

"So if someone is in a position of power, or perhaps we have seen it in grooming cases where victims think they are not victims because their abusers love them and take care of them.

"So I think we should be very careful just to say 'people don't think they are victims and therefore they are not".

More: CPS defends decision to take Nigel Evans MP to trial

Ex-DPP urges to 'keep a cool head' over abuse cases

A former DPP, Lord Macdonald of River Glaven, QC, has said the Crown Prosecution Service needed to "keep a cool head" when approaching historical abuse cases, after former Commons deputy speaker Nigel Evans was cleared of all charges surrounding nine sexual allegations and one of rape.

He told The Times (£): "We don't want prosecutors only to bring sure-fire winners, that way lots of guilty people would never be taken to court. The more challenging cases need to be prosecuted too, so that the courts can decide.

"What the CPS need to avoid, however, is going on a mission and losing perspective. This particularly applies to historical cases which have garnered a lot of publicity. You have to keep a cool head."

Mike Penning: 'The police need to get their act together'

Minister for Disabled People Mike Penning MP talks to ITV News Credit: ITV News

Conservative MP and Minister for DisabledPeople, Mike Penning has added his voice to those demanding that the police and Crown Prosecution Service face more scrutiny in the wake of Nigel Evans' aquittal.

“For Nigel this must be a huge lift off his shoulders but he’s gone through absolutehell and what upset me a little bit earlier on as I was listening to one of the senior police officers after the court case talking about the victim and how they’re going to look after the victims.

"The jury decided here that Nigel was innocent of all charges; I can’t quite understand where the victims are.

"I think the police need to get their act together and we need to look very, very carefully whether cases like this, whether it’s a senior public official like Nigel or anybody, whether these cases should have been in the courts in the first place.”

More: Conservative MPs 'delighted' at Evans verdict

Advertisement

Prime Minister hints at Evans return

British PM David Cameron. Credit: Jeff Moore/Empics Entertainment

Prime Minister David Cameron has hinted will be brought back into the Tory fold as he joined those welcoming news that the MP had been cleared of sex offence charges.

The Prime Minister said it was "hard to imagine the relief" that the former deputy speaker was feeling after "such a traumatic time".

"I very much welcome what he said on the steps of the court and I think everyone should pay heed to that,"

"I'm sure he will want to get on with working with his constituents in the Ribble Valley and, as for the future, I'm sure it's something he'll be discussing with the chief whip when he returns to Parliament."

More: CPS defends decision to take Nigel Evans MP to trial

CPS defends decision to take Nigel Evans MP to trial

The statue of "Lady Justice" by the British sculptor, Frederick William Pomeroy. Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Archive

The Crown Prosecution Service has issued a statement defending its decision to take the Nigel Evans case to trial.

“The complainants in this case provided clear accounts of the alleged offending and it was right that all of the evidence was put before a jury," a CPS spokesperson said.

"That evidence could only be fully explored during a trial and the jury has decided, after hearing all of the evidence, that the prosecution has not proved its case beyond reasonable doubt. We respect this decision.”

More: Conservative MPs 'delighted' at Evans verdict

Conservative MPs 'delighted' at Evans verdict

Tory Party MPs have welcomed Evans' aquittal and called for the Conservative whip to be restored to him.

Bl7c6fba_normal

WONDERFUL news that Nigel Evans has been acquitted on all counts. The Party Whip must now be restored to him without delay!

Mark Pritchard and Alun Cairns supported calls for the justice system to come under scrutiny.

Bpqccoejadjwjocv68jd_normal

Nigel Evans cleared on all counts. Lancashire Police and Crown Prosecution Service have some serious questions to answer

More: MP NIGEL EVANS CLEARED OF ALL CHARGES

Load more updates