Wales

Ched Evans' rape conviction goes to appeal court

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Media captionChed Evans has always maintained his innocence - Matthew Richards reports

Footballer Ched Evans is to have his rape conviction reviewed by the Court of Appeal.

The Wales football international was jailed for five years in 2012 after being found guilty of raping a 19-year-old woman at a hotel near Rhyl.

Evans, 26, was released last year after serving half of his sentence.

The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) referred the conviction after his lawyers lodged fresh evidence.

The body said it had carried out a 10-month investigation into the case and referred it based on new information which was not raised at trial.

Evans, a former Sheffield United player, has always maintained his innocence but his attempts to restart his career with Oldham Athletic and his former club collapsed in the face of a public outcry.

He sought leave to appeal following his conviction, which was dismissed in November 2012.

Richard Foster, chairman of the CCRC, said: "The decision of the commission is not a judgment on guilt or innocence in relation to Ched Evans, nor is it a judgment about the honesty or integrity of the victim or any other person involved in the case.

'Victim kept informed'

"Our role is to consider applications to see if, in our judgment, there is any basis on which to ask the court to hear a fresh appeal - that is our statutory responsibility.

"In this case we have identified new material which was not considered by the jury at trial and which in our view might have assisted the defence. In those circumstances, it is right and proper for the matter to be before the court so that they can decide whether or not the new information should affect the verdict in this case."

In its statement, the CCRC said it was very aware of the impact its decisions can have for victims of crimes and stressed the anonymity guaranteed by law for the victim in this case.

It said: "We have been particularly mindful of the targeted abuse suffered by the victim in this case and have sought to act accordingly.

"Since this application arrived in July 2014, we have been careful to keep her informed about stages of the commission's review so that, as far as it has been in our power to do so, she has learned about developments in the case from us rather than from any other source."

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