Nigel Evans case: ‘Regret is not basis to convict’

Nigel Evans

Nigel Evans

First published in News
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REGRET over having sex is not the basis to convict MP Nigel Evans, a court has been told.

Peter Wright QC, in his closing speech for the defence, said the man who claims the former deputy speaker raped him now regretted having sex with him, but this did not make the MP a guilty man.

Evans, 56, is alleged to have sexually abused seven men between 2002 and last year by using his ‘powerful’ political influence to take advantage of them, often while drunk. He denies all charges.

Mr Wright went through each charge pointing out what he claimed were inconsistencies and questioning the credibility of the evidence.

In the most serious charge, rape, Mr Wright said the issue of consent was ‘central’. The complainant, aged 22, told the jury he was raped and sexually assaulted by Evans at the defendant’s Pendleton home last March. But the MP said the sex was consensual.

The barrister said the young man had told ‘deliberate untruths’ to police and to the jury to make himself ‘more convincing’. He pointed to a series of inconsistencies – there was no pushing on the bed, no forcible undoing of trousers, no struggle to push his attacker off.

Mr Wright added: “He gave every indication of consent,” adding: “Saving his conscience is not the basis on which to convict a man of rape and sexual assault.”

Regarding incidents in 2003, when Evans allegedly indecently assaulted two men in their 20s, by putting his hand down their trousers, the incidents showed a ‘drunken over familiarity’ – not what the prosecution ‘thesis’ alleges – the actions of a powerful, ‘career making and breaking’ politician abusing his position.

On claims by another young man who said he was assaulted by Evans while sleeping at the MP's home in June 2009, again Mr Wright said there was a "distinct lack of consistency" in his account.

Finally Mr Wright addressed allegations over a man said to have been sexually assaulted in the Commons in March 2011. The alleged victim could not recall if he first contacted the police or press, Mr Wright told the jury.

Evans denies two indecent assaults, five counts of sexual assault, one attempted sexual assault and one count of rape.

The judge is expected to begin summing up the case later today.

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