Female MPs demand law change following Ched Evans verdict

Posted On: 
24th October 2016

A group of female Labour MPs has written to the Attorney General calling for a change in the law following the recent retrial of footballer Ched Evans.

Jess Phillips, chair of the women's parliamentary Labour party
Credit: 
PA

The women's parliamentary Labour party, chaired by Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillips, has raised concerns about rape complainants' sexual history being used as evidence in court.

It follows the use of such evidence in the retrial of Mr Evans, who was acquitted of rape earlier this month. 

“The verdict and events in this case set a dangerous precedent that how a victim of rape, usually a woman, has behaved in the past can be taken as evidence of the way she behaved at the time of the alleged rape,” the MPs wrote.

“This will deter victims from disclosing their abuse and will reduce the number of victims presenting their cases to the police for fear of having their private lives investigated and scrutinised.”

The group is urging Attorney General Jeremy Wright and Justice Secretary Liz Truss to amend the law so that sexual history can only be used in evidence if it is particularly out of the ordinary.

They are seeking a meeting with Mr Wright and the Ministry of Justice over the issue, while Ms Phillips also plans to raise the matter in upcoming parliamentary questions to the Attorney General.