LAWYERS representing Ched Evans have submitted “fresh evidence” to support the footballer’s bid to overturn his conviction for rape.
A statement on the former Sheffield United star’s website said a new submission “supported by previously unavailable fresh evidence” was sent to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), which is examining the case, at the end of last week.
Evans was released from prison last October after serving half of a five-year sentence for raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel room in Rhyl, north Wales, in 2011.
Previous appeals against conviction have been refused but the footballer’s lawyers believe new evidence not heard at the original trial in April 2012 will lead to the conviction eventually being quashed.
The CCRC has fast-tracked Evans’s application and is sifting through the evidence to decide whether the conviction should be referred back to the Court of Appeal as potentially unsafe.
The statement on Evans’s website said: “The application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission on behalf of Ched Evans was submitted on 15 July 2014 and was given Level 1 priority in September 2014.
“On Friday 23rd January 2015 further detailed submissions – supported by previously unavailable fresh evidence that we believe strengthens Ched’s application – were lodged with the Commission.”
The website is run by Karl Massey, the father of Evans’s fiancée Natasha Massey who has stood by him despite the rape conviction.
Mr Massey declined to comment when asked to expand on the statement and what evidence has been forwarded to the CCRC.
Evans’s lawyer Shaun Draycott was unavailable for comment when contacted by The Yorkshire Post.
The conviction revolved around the woman’s ability to consent and whether Evans could reasonably believe that she was consenting when she was drunk.
The trial at Caernarfon Crown Court heard that the victim had no recollection of what happened.
Attempts by Evans, who is also a Welsh international, to return to the professional game have prompted widespread protests which have led to Sheffield United and more recently Oldham Athletic shelving plans to sign the player.
He was forced to issue an apology following the events that led to his conviction but maintained his claim that he is innocent.
He also condemned those “using social media in an abusive and vindictive way towards this woman”.
Hull City boss Steve Bruce found himself dragged into the controversy when he suggested a jury may have got it wrong over the conviction of Evans.
Bruce, who admitted to being one of three Premier League managers spoken to by Oldham Athletic chairman Simon Corney during the furore over his possible signing, said there was a question over the rape and “how he had been convicted by a jury”.
Bruce had told a Press conference that Corney “was of the opinion to give the kid a chance”.
He added: “I can only say on behalf of myself – and I know I might be upsetting people – but there is a question of the rape and how he has been convicted by a jury.
“When you look at the evidence, it is there for appeal.”