Ched Evans – The Layman’s opinion (pardon the pun)

So there’s been a lot of discussion and debate about the latest incident of a sportsman behaving badly, Ched Evans. I have read and heard a lot of things recently, so much so that I have been compelled to resume my blogging to add my own two cents. I bumped into a parent of one of the players of my soccer school, https://www.facebook.com/ProActiveSoccerSchool (shameless plug) and after the obligatory ‘Happy Holidays’ talk, we somehow got talking about this case. This prompted me to revisit my ‘Drinkers Degree’ law studies and take a closer look at the case.

I embarked on some extensive research (typed ‘Ched Evans case’ on Google’) and found the case notes. Feel free to peruse yourself -https://www.crimeline.info/case/r-v-ched-evans-chedwyn-evans. I read the shortened version of it and to sum up for the layman, (someone not a member of the legal profession, much like myself), with excerpts from the case, it goes like this:

Drunk Boy bumps into drunk girl at ‘chuck out’ time on a night out

Said drunk couple engage in some mild and obligatory flirting before accepting the inevitable and go home together. McDonald, who was also on trial, gave evidence that the complainant approached him in Queen Street. He asked her where she was going. She replied by asking where he was going. He said that he was going to his hotel and she said that she would go with him. Hardly Mills and Boon material.

So far nothing unusual.

Drunk Couple then enter a taxi to go to a hotel paid for by drunk boy’s friend, who so happens to be Ched Evans, an average footballer unbeknownst to most football fans until two months ago but now a name at the lips of even the most casual football fan. Drunk Boy texts his footballer friend something akin to ‘I’m in, come fill your boots’ if you pardon yet another pun. Footballer friend naturally says yes. Knowing Ched Evans’ goal scoring record, he probably jumped at the chance of an open goal.

Drunk Girl and drunk boy have sex amongst other things, and then Ched turns up, ‘blags’ a second set of keys to the room and has his way with her too.

A key point here is that two men have now had sex with this lady and in both cases, there has been no struggle and she has willingly participated. When she was asked if the applicant could join in, the complainant clearly replied “Yes”, although I must say here that this was Ched’s testimony so could be untrue. The hotel doorman testified to hearing two people enjoying sex (Dunk Girl and Ched) and didn’t make any comment about hearing unusual noises. I wonder how long he stayed listening for, but that’s another topic of discussion altogether.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, Drunk Boy and Ched Evans were both charged with rape, but Drunk Boy was found not guilty whilst Ched wasn’t so lucky. This was strange to me when I found out, but after reading the case notes, it seems to make sense (sort of). You see, the issue of rape nowadays centers on actual or implied consent given and because Drunk Girl willingly went into a taxi and then a hotel room with Drunk Boy, a stranger she’d bumped into on the streets after a heavy night out, it is fair to say she displayed various levels of consent. She was obviously drunk and a casual drug user, (The CCTV footage showed that while she was inside the kebab shop she was unsteady on her feet, at one point she fell over and landed on the floor and She was naked and had urinated in the bed and The tests also revealed traces of cocaine and cannabis) and a little needy (While en route to the room the porter heard her say to McDonald “You’re not going to leave me, are you?”) but that should not affect her right to say yes or no.

Although there were no signs of struggle or injuries (The doctor found no injuries to the complainant), the jury decided that Drunk Girl was not in a state to consent to sexual intercourse. This was also despite the fact that Ched Evans testified to having performed oral sex on a stranger straight after his friend had just finished having sex with her. When she was asked if the applicant (Evans) could join in, the complainant (Drunk Girl) clearly replied “Yes”. McDonald stopped. The complainant asked the applicant to perform oral sex on her. He did so and then they had sexual intercourse. Now in my opinion, anyone who could admit to performing such an act in such a situation should be found not guilty straightaway…

Regardless, no consent equals rape so according to the law, Ched Evans was found guilty of rape and served his prescribed time in prison.

I’m not here to debate whether it was the correct decision or not. I am mainly expressing my dismay at the vitriol from various people and groups over the fact that after serving his time, the guy wants to get back to work. Various clubs, including his former club Sheffield United have tried to offer him a way back, and each time, they have been forced to backtrack because of the negative reaction from the press, normal fans and even celebrities. I love Jess Ennis but her and her fellow celebrities who have got involved in this and condemned the clubs have gone down in my estimation Kevin Keegan style (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZFcaIx6oEY).

A person commits a crime. He is punished for it and serves his time. Upon release, he tried to get a job so he can carry on with his life. This happens everyday and I don’t see 60,000 people signing petitions or companies threatening to stop their association with the shops they visit. The only difference is the person in question here is a footballer. Why can’t he go back to work? Is it because he is a ‘spoilt footballer who needs to be taught a lesson’? Is he being punished for society’s perception of footballers? Or is he being made a scapegoat because so many of his peers have ‘got away’ with similar incidents?

An argument which has some merit is that as a person in the public eye and therefore a role model to some, he shouldn’t be seen to be allowed to go back to work. However, I am pretty certain more people saw Luis Suarez and his actions against Italy at the World Cup than know about Ched Evans and Suarez is was rewarded with a multi-million pound contract at one of the best teams in the world.

If he had intentionally gone in and succeeded in breaking the leg of a fellow player during a game or training, then there would also be merit in the argument against him returning to work because he would be a danger to others. However, his actions are not those which directly affect his job as a footballer. Yes he will encounter fans of the opposite sex, but so will almost everyone else in their daily job apart from the possibility of coal miners.

Even the subjects of one of the most deplorable acts of evil in my lifetime, Jamie Bulger’s killers were given new identities, homes and whatever else, all paid for by the taxpayer. And they actually killed. A small child too. Yet they are able to carry on with their lives in anonymity and peace. Another ‘wrongly convicted’ high profile ‘rapist’, Mike Tyson went on to earn millions after his incarceration.

Ched Evans just wants to get back to work. I assume like most footballers, football is all he can do. I doubt he has a doctorate up on his wall he can fall back on. It’s not like he works in a women’s institute, or a female modelling agency where he could be ‘tempted’. He is a footballer who will spend 90% of his time at work with other men. He is hardly a high risk case.

In my personal view, this campaign against him is extremely unfair. Women’s groups and the like claim that he hasn’t taken responsibility of his actions and is therefore not sorry. That is a fair point. However, if you are accused of something you believe you haven’t done, how can you claim responsibility? The best thing you can do is accept the judicial punishment and try to clear your name in the correct course, which I understand he is doing.

There are many people who have committed a crime of varying degrees and still been allowed to carry on with their lives after completing their sentences. At 28 years old, is a man not allowed to provide for his family and future? What if he decided he didn’t want to play football and went to study? I assume he would attend a university with a fair amount of women, some of whom are of the loose kind (if my university is anything to go by). Would the same people campaigning against him playing football still be as vocal if he embarked on this career path, a path which in my opinion, may be more dangerous to a ‘rapist’?

It seems to me that the main issue is that Ched Evans is a footballer. Because he is a footballer, he should not be allowed to work. Because he is a footballer, he should go and hide in a dark corner of his multi-million pound mansion and waste away. Who cares? He has earned enough money so he can drive his sports car and stay in one of his many homes and out of our sight. Not all footballers are of Beckham status. Some of them need to play to live. I am sure there aren’t many of us at 28 who have enough savings to live on forever, especially if we have not been able to earn any money for three years.

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