Sunday, 11 January 2015

What the wrongful conviction of Ched Evans means for the criminal standard of proof that protects our liberties

The most important point to bear in mind about Ched Evans’ conviction is that the criminal standard of proof was not satisfied.

The complainant offered no evidence except that she would not have done such a thing, yet she was obviously a slag because she was prepared to have sex with a stranger she met in a kebab shop.

If she was offering no evidence, then she was unable to confirm or refute the evidence of both defendants and both defendants corroborated each other.

At no time did the judge direct the jury appropriately as to whether Ched Evans had grounds for reasonable belief that the complainant had consented. His defence was that he had because the complainant said he could have sex with her provided he performed a sexual favour for her, which he did. Having done so – and this was corroborated by the first defendant Clayton McKenzie – he proceeded to have sex with her having reasonable belief as to her consent.

Of course, the jury could choose not to believe Ched Evans, but if they chose not to believe him, they could not have reached a conclusion beyond reasonable doubt. It could only have been reached on the balance of probabilities because the complainant herself offered no evidence, while the two defendants corroborated each other’s testimony.

For some reason this was not raised by the defence or if raised was not taken by the judge, nor was it raised at appeal.

This was my comment

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