Decision on Ched Evans appeal bid ‘within weeks’

THE FATE of disgraced former Sheffield United footballer Ched Evans’ last-ditch attempt to have his rape conviction overturned could be made within weeks.

Ched Evans

A panel of legal experts will today begin discussing the findings of a 10-month Criminal Cases Review Commission into the case, for which the 26-year-old served half of a five-year jail sentence.

Evans is reported to have submitted two new interviews after applying to the CCRC to have his conviction for raping a 19-year-old woman at a hotel near Rhyl re-examined.

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The CCRC told The Yorkshire Post that there are a number of potential outcomes of the work of its three commissioners.

An earlier bid to gain permission to appeal against Evans’ conviction was rejected by three judges at the Court of Appeal in 2012 - but the CCRC could refer it back if it considers that some new evidence or new legal argument identified in the review raises a “real possibility” of the conviction being quashed.

If they fail to do so, Evans, who has maintained his innocence, will have exhausted all possibilities to clear his name.

The CCRC are likely lawyers for Evans of their decision within seven days, or, failing that, within the coming weeks, according to a spokesman.

“The outcome of a CCRC case committee, if it is a provisional or a final decision, will usually be communicated to the applicant and others several days or even weeks after the date on which the committee met,”

“This is because it usually takes some time to properly capture in a formal legal document the decision and the detailed reasons for it and because there are a number of issues, such as third party disclosure and victim notification that may have to be dealt.

“A commission decision is not considered final until the Statement or Reasons is signed by and despatched to the relevant parties.”

The conviction revolved around the woman’s ability to give 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 led to Sheffield United and Oldham Athletic shelving plans to sign him.

He was forced to issue an apology following the events that led to his conviction but maintained his claim that he is innocent.