Nigel Evans trial reaction, Co-op turmoil, royal portrait and a 'racist' swan

Nigel Evans outside Preston Crown Court after his acquittal on 10 April 2014 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Nigel Evans was cleared after a five-week trial at Preston Crown Court

After not-guilty verdicts in the latest high-profile trial over alleged sex offences, newspapers are once again examining the role of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

The acquittal of former Commons deputy speak Nigel Evans has left the "Tories and CPS at war" , according to the Guardian.

It says MPs have demanded a review of sex-related prosecutions amid fears that "men's lives are at risk of being ruined".

The Daily Mail lists other celebrities "wrongly put through the wringer", such as comedians Jimmy Tarbuck and Jim Davidson, and Coronation Street actor William Roache.

In its editorial column, the Daily Telegraph accepts that the police are duty bound to investigate complaints.

However, it adds: "It is for the CPS to assess whether the case is strong enough to put before a court - and it is at this stage of proceedings that the problems appear to lie."

Times cartoonist Peter Brookes sketches the "Clown Prosecution Service", kicking an elongated boot in his own crotch, smashing a custard pie into his face and shooting himself with a joke pistol.

The paper's editorial argues that recent cases have painted a "grim picture" of the organisation, adding: "It appears weak, susceptible to pressure and sloppy."

However, the Daily Mirror says: "It is too easy to criticise the Crown Prosecution Service... Would it be better if the CPS acted as judge and jury and dismissed those making the complaints? No it would not. The proper course of action was to let a court of law decide."

The Guardian cautions against criticism of the CPS resulting in prosecutors setting the bar "specially high for celebrity defendants" in future.

"That would be a shocking outcome, especially when memories of the Jimmy Savile cases are so vivid and raw."

Co-op 'turmoil'

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The travails of the Co-operative Bank make front-page headlines again, with the Financial Times reporting that it will refuse to pay millions of pounds in bonuses to former executives on the day it reveals losses of £1.3bn.

It quotes one source explaining the bank's hard line by saying: "Even if they don't have the legal right to claw back pay for some of the executives who put the bank in this situation, they can just refuse to pay it - I doubt any of these guys will have the balls to challenge it."

Meanwhile, Wednesday's boardroom resignation of former City Minister Lord Myners - who had been "parachuted in" to save the wider Co-op Group four months ago - has prompted "turmoil", according to the Guardian.

Opposition to his reforms prompted his decision but he will try to push through the changes at this year's AGM on 17 May. "Get ready for the biggest vote in the Co-op's 170-year-history," says the paper's financial editor Nils PratleyLink.

In its leader column, the Times says: "Lord Myners is not the enemy of the mutual ideal; he seeks to salvage it from a legacy of vainglorious incompetence."

The Independent's editorial suggests a compromise between reformers and long-standing members, keen to preserve its democratic ideals, remains possible. But it adds: "The only problem is that, amid the bickering, the group is running out of time."

Startled? Bemused?

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The Royal tour of New Zealand continues to get plenty of coverage and this time it's the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in the headlines, rather than their infant son.

The Daily Telegraph describes a "slightly startled" look on the face of an "apparently bemused" duchess as she and Prince William unveiled a portrait of the Queen. Reporter Gordon Rayner rather uncharitably calls it "less than impressive".

The Daily Mail offers a similar take, with the headline: "I say Wills, I've never seen your grandmama wearing bright red lipstick!"

William is the main focus of the Daily Star, which declares him "Lord of the Wings" alongside a photograph of the prince clambering into a replica of a WW1 biplane. The Daily Express proudly notes that the "patriotic" prince was offered the chance to sit in a German Fokker, only for him to reply: "I'm not climbing into a German plane."

Photographs of Lord of the Rings director Sir Peter Jackson filming the royals on his mobile phone lead the Sun to rename the Duchess "Kate Middle Earth" and dress her as a Baggins, complete with hobbit wig.

Meanwhile, Times deputy fashion editor Carolyn Asome runs the rule over what the duchess was really wearing. She describes "elegance, with a nod to [her] hosts", in the form of beading representing New Zealand's national emblem - the silver fern - on her dress.

While no new photographs emerged of Prince George, the eight-month-old is still "the big noise" for the Times, thanks to William telling his hosts at a state reception: "I hope that George doesn't keep you up. He's at his most vocal at 3am... I swear I heard him doing the haka this morning."

When animals attack

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Prompted by the manslaughter trial of a farmer whose bull charged at a 63-year-old walker on a footpath across his land in Nottinghamshire, the Daily Mail advises: "How to escape from a bull."

Wisdom from assorted countryfolk includes to "never trust" a bull, put yourself at a bull's mercy by sitting down, or allow a loose scarf or jacket to flap in the wind. This does not just apply to red garments, it seems, because bulls are colourblind.

Meanwhile, the Telegraph reports the antics of a "racist" swan which has been attacking foreign students as they walk across a bridge at a campus of Warwick University. "Undergraduates disclosed that the angry bird seemed to be targeting only students from ethnic minorities," it reports.

One Italian student is quoted as saying: "She's a true right-winger, that's for sure. They certainly seem to be racially motivated incidents."

Meanwhile, an African grey parrot is hailed a hero in the Mail for saving its owner when she was attacked while taking a stroll in a north London park. The bird, called Wunsy, was perched on its owner's shoulder when she was dragged to the ground.

"Wunsy started flapping at him. Her wings were right in his face and she was squawking. He just ran off," the proud owner is quoted as saying.

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