Ched Evans settles with lawyers Brabners over handling of rape case

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Sports law specialist reportedly forks out almost £800,000

The footballer Ched Evans has settled out of court with the law firm that represented him at his original rape trial.

Evans, 30, was found guilty in a 2012 trial despite the efforts of north west outfit Brabners but managed to have the conviction overturned with the help of new solicitors. He had already served two and a half years in prison.

A statement on now says that the former Sheffield United star has accepted an out-of-court settlement with the firm for “negligent defence”. It is reportedly worth close to £800,000.

A spokesperson for Brabners said: “We are glad that Ched Evans has agreed not to pursue this case, which we believe was entirely without merit. Brabners put forward a strong defence of Mr Evans claim following a thorough process and we were prepared to vigorously defend our handling of the case.”

The highly controversial case centred on a Premier Inn in Rhyl, north Wales, on the night of 29 May 2011. Evans and a friend, fellow footballer Clayton McDonald, had sex with a 19-year-old woman in the hotel room while others filmed through the window. The pair said that the complainant, though drunk, had consented. The prosecution said that she was so drunk as to be incapable of giving consent.

Evans was convicted of rape after a Crown Court trial in April 2012 and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. The Court of Appeal upheld the conviction and sentence later that year.

But witnesses then came forward claiming to know the complainant and giving graphic detail of having had sex with her in ways that matched Evans’ account on consensual intercourse.

Lady Justice Hallett, hearing a second appeal, commented that the witnesses “all describe a woman who in May and June 2011, having been out drinking, engaged in sexual intercourse in a particular way; she was not only an enthusiastic participant, she directed her sexual partners to have sexual intercourse with her in particular positions including the ‘doggie position’ and used a distinctive expression demanding intercourse with her harder. Their accounts bear sufficiently close resemblance to the appellant’s account as to make the evidence ‘so similar’ that it cannot be reasonably explained as a coincidence”.

The Court of Appeal accepted that the new evidence was enough to overturn the conviction. A retrial found Evans not guilty, kicking off furious debate in the legal professional.

The statement on behalf of Evans says: “In late 2016 Ched began litigation against his original defence team of Matthew Bennett and Stuart Ripley of Brabners LLP for negligent defence. On Thursday 4 April 2019 Ched accepted an out of court settlement”.

It had previously been reported that the damages sought were to cover loss of earnings. Evans was released by Sheffield United following the original conviction and a mooted move to Oldham Athletic after his release from prison fell through.

Brabners, which has offices in Manchester, Liverpool and Preston, is well known for its sports law work.

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“agreed not to pursue this case, which we believe was entirely without merit” “reportedly worth close to £800,000”. Yeah, that stacks up…



Why Brabners were instructed I will never know, whilst they are quite well-known for their involvement in sports law, they are not a criminal practice, it seems bizarre that they agreed to act in this case.



Looking the lawyers up, they’re specialists in football transfers. Now that might get a bit heated from time to time, but it’s not nearly as contentious as a criminal rape trial and the overlap in the tasks done and skills required is unlikely to be particularly great.

It might be that a negligence trial would have shown that they took to this new and complex area of law like proverbial ducks to water, but this does seem implausible.

An £800,000 lesson for us all not to dabble in areas well outside our area of expertise.


Kevin Hennessy

I have lost count of the number of cases that I have dealt with in the police station that result in no charges being brought, notwithstanding the fact that my client has been guilty. This involves murders, rapes & less serious offences. This is primarily due to sound legal advice and many solicitors will say the same. It is regrettable that you seem to suggest sols do nothing.



At many universities nowadays there is literature disseminated to freshers that states that being drunk (not ‘so drunk you don’t know what is going on’ just ‘drunk’) vitiates consent. Student Unions seem not to have noticed R v Bree. As a result, many people will probably think (wrongly) that he is a rapist.



This was in response to a comment that has now been deleted, for context.



A comment that didn’t warrant deletion, for further context.



We did nothing wrong but here’s 800k.
It doesn’t add up!
I wonder whether the SRA will look at whether solicitors took on work they were not qualified to undertake?



Involvement of prof neg insurers no doubt caused the settlement…


Steven Seagull

Good to see Ched finally getting some justice. Hopefully the money will offer some compensation for having the State steal all those years from him.



And the PC moral outrage brigade that harassed clubs that wanted to sign the poor man.



Poor guy. I wish my team had signed him.



The best back scuttle in the league.



“We are glad that Ched Evans has agreed not to pursue this case, which we believe was entirely without merit.”. Well, in that case Brabners, why did you not successfully apply to strike out the claim and thus save yourselves £800k?

Methinks the solicitor doth protest too much.



Drunken consent is consent. It may not be PC or “me too”, but so what? It is tragic how this man has been mistreated.



Just caught up in a mass of hysteria at that time really!



Question: If both the male and female party involved in a sexual liaison are too drunk to consent, are they both guilty of committing offences against each other? Or is there one rule for men and one rule for women? Because that would be unthinkable. Oh. Wait….

I have never dealt any sex/consent cases in my practice so it is a (mostly) genuine question btw.



It seems from R v Bree that one must be so intoxicated that one basically has no idea what is going on, not just not being in proper control (I think the CA thinks a case where two people were in such a condition even managing to have sex with one another is likely to be exceedingly rare).

If such a case did come to the CPS – not to be in the public interest to prosecute both, Wednesbury unreasonable to only prosecute one unless special factors maybe?



The dangers of promiscuity!



The law should be that, unless the woman (a) says “No” or otherwise indicates through her conduct that consent is not given (such as by pushing the man away), or (b) is unconscious, then it cannot be suggested that there was no consent.



I like it when they cry with regret in the morning.



B east.


Archibald Pomp O'City

If the claim of negligent representation was without merit then why did they settle?

It looks like they cannot even defend themselves competently, by God.


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