The footballer Ched Evans, who was cleared of raping a woman after details of her sex life were put before a jury, has said there should be more education on alcohol and consent amid continuing criticism of the conduct of his retrial.
The former Wales international, who was convicted of rape in 2012 but had his conviction subsequently quashed, insisted he could not apologise to the 19-year-old complainant because he had committed no crime when he had sex with her while she was drunk.
But the 27-year-old footballer, who told police at the time of his arrest that his profession meant “we could have any girl we wanted”, said he wanted to speak to younger players about the risks their behaviour could generate.
The striker, who was linked with a move to Hartlepool United after his release from prison', told the Mail on Sunday: “I was young at the time and I was stupid and I wasn’t aware of the situations you could potentially find yourself in that would land you in trouble.
“I have never been taught about anything like that. You get your gambling and drinking training but nothing else on top of that. In this day and age people need educating on alcohol and consent.”
He added: “I read somewhere you would have to get signed consent. That wouldn’t be realistic but someone needs to come up with something. The best thing is just to be educated. And when they are drunk to think twice about it. How would it look in a court of law?”
Questioning of complainants
The acquittal of the father-of-one on Friday after a retrial has prompted furious debate over the rules surrounding the questioning of complainants in rape cases. Although the law states that victims cannot be routinely questioned about their sexual history, it can be permitted by judges in exceptional circumstances.
Lawyers for Mr Evans argued that such circumstances had arisen in his case and the defence was allowed to call two witnesses who had been sexual partners of the complainant.
Prosecutors had alleged that the young woman, who has since been named and vilified on social media to the extent that she has had to change her name five times and move home, had blacked out and been unable to give consent when the incident happened at a hotel in Rhyl, north Wales, in 2011.
Mr Evans, who had walked into the hotel room when a fellow player was having sex with the woman, insisted along with the other player that the woman had given consent. He proceeded to have sex with her without talking to her, the court heard.
A prominent women’s rights campaigner claimed yesterday that the case had led to a “rapists’ charter” and left her believing that she would not approach police if she were attacked and could not advise other women to do so because of the ordeal they face in court.
Julie Bindel, co-founder of Justice for Women, said: “It is with immense regret that I have concluded this: unless you are a teetotal virgin, it is probably best not to report rape unless you are very robust and have masses of support.
“I can honestly say that things have got much worse for women who make the difficult and brave decision to report rape. I can honestly say the verdict in the Evans case will put countless victims off reporting, and result in scores of guilty men walking free.”