Ched Evans has won an appeal against his conviction for raping a 19-year-old woman – but the former Chester City FC junior player must face a fresh trial.
The Court of Appeal today (April 21) give its decision following appeal proceedings last month.
Evans, a former Welsh international striker, was present at the London court for the hearing with girlfriend Natasha Massey by his side.
Lady Justice Hallett, Mr Justice Flaux and Sir David Maddison heard submissions over two days from Kieran Vaughan QC, for Evans, and from Eleanor Laws QC, for the Crown.
It means that his conviction has been quashed and retrial was immediately ordered. Grounds of appeal can not be reported until conclusion of retrial for legal reasons.
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At the hearing today, Lady Justice Hallett said: “On April 20 2012, a jury at Caernarfon Crown Court convicted the appellant of an offence of rape.
"He was sentenced to five years imprisonment and he has since been released on licence.
“He appealed to this court against conviction on a reference by the Criminal Cases Review Commission under s.9 Criminal Appeal Act 1995 on the basis that relevant and admissible evidence has come to light, that was not available at trial, and that undermines the safety of his conviction.
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“On March 22 and 23, 2016, we heard argument and we heard the fresh evidence.
“In our judgement handed down this morning, we provide a detailed consideration of the issues raised on the appeal and the reasons for our decision.
“In summary, we have concluded that we must allow the appeal and that it is in the interests of justice to order a retrial. Nothing can be reported that might prejudice the fairness of that re-trial. The identity of the complainant in this case must not be reported.”
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Evans, now 27, spent two-and-a-half years in jail after he was convicted in 2012 of raping a woman in a hotel in the Premier Inn hotel in Rhuddlan.
St Asaph-born Evans was on Chester City's books as a junior player before leaving and signing for Manchester City in 2002. He had a loan spell with Norwich City before signing for Sheffield United in 2009.