Ched Evans wins appeal against rape conviction

Footballer Ched Evans has won an appeal against his conviction for raping a 19-year-old woman but will face a re-trial.

The decision by Court of Appeal judges in London was announced on Thursday following appeal proceedings last month.

The former Sheffield United striker and Welsh international had his girlfriend Natasha Massey by his side in the packed courtroom.

Evans, now 27, was convicted in April 2012. He was found guilty at Caernarfon Crown Court of raping the woman at a hotel in Rhyl, North Wales. He was jailed for five years and released in October 2014 after serving half of his term.

Ched Evans leaves the Court of Appeal in London with partner Natasha Massey
Ched Evans leaves the Court of Appeal in London with partner Natasha Massey (John Aston/PA)

The conviction was referred to the Court of Appeal for review by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), which investigates possible miscarriages of justice.

Lady Justice Hallett, announcing the court's decision, said the judges had heard "fresh evidence" during the appeal hearing on March 22 and 23.

She said: "In summary, we have concluded that we must allow the appeal and that it is in the interests of justice to order a re-trial."

The court quashed Evans's conviction and declared: "The appellant will be retried on the allegation of rape."

After the ruling Evans left the Royal Courts of Justice hand in hand with his girlfriend to catch a taxi.

In a statement read by a lawyer outside the court's front entrance, Evans was described as being "extremely grateful" to the appeal judges for quashing his conviction.

It was made clear that no further statement would be made "as it is acknowledged by Mr Evans that the legal process has not reached a final conclusion".

Evans was released on unconditional bail. A court date for the re-trial will be set in due course.

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