Ex-deputy speaker is accused of using ‘influence’ in sex assaults

Nigel Evans, former deputy speaker of the House of Commons (centre front ) arrives at Preston Crown Court
Nigel Evans, former deputy speaker of the House of Commons (centre front ) arrives at Preston Crown Court
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THE FORMER deputy speaker of the House of Commons Nigel Evans used his “powerful” influence to sexually assault seven young men, a court has been told.

He had the “ability to make or break” the careers of those who wished to work in Westminster, a trial jury at Preston Crown Court heard yesterday.

The Crown Prosecution service allege that Evans exploited his position and pressed his sexual attentions on his victims, and carried on doing so despite being warned about his behaviour .

Evans, 56, faces nine charges in all, dating from 2002 to April 1 last year, involving seven complainants.

The MP for Ribble Valley in Lancashire denies two counts of indecent assault, six of sexual assault and one of rape.

Opening the case, prosecutor Mark Heywood QC said: “Within the Palace of Westminster, in his constituency and in his own political party, Mr Evans was, during the decade with which you are concerned, a very well-known and powerful individual.

“Part of his influence included the ability to make, or to break, the careers of those young people who themselves would be politicians or work for those who govern.

“The prosecution case against Mr Evans is that he, often when in drink, pressed his sexual attentions on those younger men, using or trading on his position of influence.

“Now this behaviour did not happen once but has been repeated over time and despite repeated warnings given to him by others.

“It has also escalated in seriousness, no doubt because he believed that his position made it less than likely that someone would complain.”

Mr Heywood continued: “The prosecution alleges that he, on separate occasions over many years, has sexually assaulted young men, both in public situations and in private.

“By the last of these, in early 2013, he raped one of the young men.

“So the prosecution allege, he not only abused those young men, in some cases seriously, 
but he abused the positions he held.

“Mr Evans, on the other hand, denies the allegations made, he says that in respect of, for example, the rape, events were entirely consensual, agreed upon, or the result of misreading signals or simply that either they did not happen or he has no clear recollection because of the passage of time.”

The case continues.