I’m not going to say much about Ched Evans. I condemned him as a sleaze ball when he was found guilty of rape and I don’t feel any different about him today. He is not “innocent” as his statement suggested yesterday, but not guilty. In his previous case, he was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt. In this one, the jury must have had reasonable doubt. Probably guilty means not guilty in the eye of the law.
If you were any doubt about the criminal state of the law in Britain today, this was it. Evans had the best legal team money could buy, issuing £50k bounties to anyone who could help get him acquitted. Two men came forward to repeat the lines that ‘X’ wanted them to “fuck me harder”, the line Evans said she told him on that fateful night. Obviously, it was a fortunate coincidence that these men happened to come forward to give evidence at the re-trial when they were not there at the first one. How lucky they managed to remember what was said.
Now Evans has been found not guilty, he is free to continue his life as a professional footballer, doubtless buoyed by the many millions of pounds in compensation he may demand. Much more disturbing is the poisonous response to the verdict by angry men who have abused X in terrible ways on social networks. Jessica Ennis Hill has also come in for torrid abuse for having told Sheffield United she did not want her name associated with a football club that employed a rapist, as if she had the kind of foresight that would have told her Evans would be acquitted many years later.
Like Brexit, Evans’ not guilty verdict is revealing a very ugly side to our country. Some seem to be serenading him as some kind of folk hero.
No. Nothing has changed. Let’s face facts. British law is accessible only by the rich and well-to-do and if Evans was a Sunday league footballer, we might face an entirely different verdict. Evans lied to get the key to the hotel room and his brother and another man tried to film what was going on. Then he left, leaving X in the room, via the fire exit. Is that what a real man does?