One of my favourite broadcasting moments of the year…

It was very satisfying to see Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis demolish Daniel O’Reilly, the so-called comedian behind the controversial Dapper Laughs character. O’Reilly was axed from ITV2 following highly inappropriate material in a stage show in  which the character appeared to be encouraging violence towards and rape and harassment of women.

I’ve seen a few people suggest that his comments, while distasteful, were not beyond the pale and that too much fuss has been made about it. They were men, funnily enough. I wonder how they would feel if they lived in a world where most of the powerful characters were women, where men were routinely treated as decoration for the titillation of women. Imagine how it would then feel if a woman, as part of a comedy routine, talked about forcing them to take part in sexual acts, tying them down with tape if necessary, if he said that no didn’t really mean no. If you are sceptical you should maybe try reading Laura Bates’ Everyday Sexism book which was this week placed on Waterstone’s Book of the Year list.

I loved Maitlis’s bemused calm contempt for O’Reilly’s unconvincing  attempts to explain himself.

Of course she got the usual type of foul misogynist abuse on Twitter and retweeted some of the vilest efforts. I do hope the perpetrators’ mothers follow her.

I got some as well when I tweeted support to her. “There’s another bint that needs to lighten up” said one of them.

There seems to be a lot more tolerance to men’s atrocious behaviour than there is for women who dare challenge them on it. I find it extraordinary that it was ever even contemplated by Sheffield United that they should allow Ched Evans to try out for them. Charlotte Henry was right when she said that it would be the sponsors pulling out which would settle the matter, but why anyone thought that someone with a rape conviction could come out of prison into a privileged career where he’d be a role model. He’s not expressed any remorse for what he did to the woman concerned, nor to my knowledge has he condemned the legion of foul, online misogynists who rushed to his defence, some of them even naming the woman.

Rehabilitation is not something that happens to you. You have to take an active part in the process and that means acknowledging and trying to put right mistakes. Evans has done none of this and is therefore unfit for such a high profile public role.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Eddie Sammon 12th Nov '14 - 9:23pm

    The problem with Dapper Laughs was not the odd controversial joke, but the way he consistently targeted one section in society (women).

    Unfortunately, there are plenty of women who do the same to men, but the radical feminist echo chamber is largely oblivious to it.

  • Eddie Sammon 12th Nov '14 - 10:30pm

    To clarify my point, which obviously needs clarifying to help the echo chamber understand, the arguments used by Emily Maitlis and others can be used to justify banning Home Alone, Tom and Jerry and the Flintstones.

    If you try to point it out they say annoying things like “so you are the victim?” it becomes infuriating and then if you get angry they say “look, angry men”, so you just have to stop speaking to such people.

    Daniel O’Reilly is obviously prejudiced, but it doesn’t excuse prejudice in return. The response should be fair attacks.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 12th Nov '14 - 10:46pm

    Eddie, I don’t think anybody was talking about banning anything. ITV voluntarily withdrew the programme after complaints about O’Reilly’s stage show in which he talked about no not meaning no and using duct tape to “rape the b***h”. The Flntstones must have changed since I last watched them if you think there’s a similarity.

    All Maitlis was doing was tackling him as to why he’d thought this was funny and point out that men who watched it could take it as encouragement to use sexual violence.

    Find me one woman, just one, who has ever suggested that violent sexual assault on a man would be even remotely funny.

    And the reason she said “ah, so you’re the victim” is because he was bleating about how much this had cost him.

  • Eddie Sammon 12th Nov '14 - 10:58pm

    Correction: when you point it out they “sometimes” say annoying things. Society is broken and such reassurances are necessary.

    When it comes to Ched Evans: I would ban him until he has served his full five years. [Comment edited to remove unacceptable characterisation of people with mental ill health. Commenter placed on pre-moderation. – Caron Lindsay]

    I am worried by the amount of experienced people in society who fail to recognise such basic concepts about law and justice.

  • Eddie, if you think Dapper Laughs is the same as the Flintstones and Home Alone… I don’t know how to finish that sentence. Wow. Really.

  • Eddie Sammon 12th Nov '14 - 11:12pm

    James King, I am in favour of banning Dapper Laughs and not the Flintstones, so nice grandstanding.

  • That was not entirely clear given your comment, firstly a false equivalence of Dapper Laughs and ‘plenty of women’ (examples please?), followed by your statement that ‘the arguments used by Emily Maitlis and others can be used to justify banning Home Alone, Tom and Jerry and the Flintstones.’

  • Eddie Sammon 12th Nov '14 - 11:38pm

    Hi Caron, I’ll let you have your points, I don’t want to say much more on this article or go and find evidence right now.

    James, I understand my point was not entirely clear. The culture of fear creates a lot of arguments on this topic.

    I would be interested to hear what other people think on this topic, so feel free to keep discussing. I too am a product of my own “echo chambers”.

  • Liberal Neil 12th Nov '14 - 11:51pm

    Eddie – you mean you don’t check the evidence before you state things on here? Really? You surprise me.

  • Admittedly I don’t watch Dapper Laughs (may have to give it a go now just to see what the argument is about!) but I got the impression his rape jokes were meant sarcastically, i.e. intended to mock the people who think forcing sex on someone is acceptable? Maybe I’m wrong but the trouble with humour is that so much is down to context and interpretation.

    For example, I was arguing with someone about immigration the other day, he was from the “I’m not racist but,..” brigade. As part of the conversation, I said something like “well maybe we should just send all the foreigners home, especially people with mucky foreign surnames like [insert his name and mine here, we both have German surnames]”. Now, if you read what I said literally I sound like a disgusting xenophobic bigot. But I’m sure most people would recognise that I was being sarcastic and that my real opinion is the exact opposite of what I said (that being the whole point of sarcasm). Isn’t the same true of the Dapper Laughs routine? He’s surely not condoning rape but actually mocking those who commit it?

  • Hannah Bettsworth 13th Nov '14 - 12:10am

    Funnily enough I don’t remember my childhood cartoons being ragingly misogynistic or reinforcing rape culture

  • Eddie Sammon 13th Nov '14 - 12:26am

    Liberal Neil, there are two kinds of evidence: empirical and fundamental. Your comment contained no empirical evidence and neither did mine.

    Hannah Bettsworth, which is why I don’t want cartoons banned but I want Dapper Laughs and other hate characters banned.

    Anyone else want to attack me? Or shall we spend time attacking actual supporters of Dapper Laughs and Co?

  • The Flintstones embodies a 1950s culture of male dominance and various other cartoons from the past would now be considered offensive. Hence we now goblins instead of golliwoggs in Noddy stories. Buggs Bunny is overly sexual towards Lola Bunny. Many examples exist but you can always find fault in things. Where do you draw the line? Well why draw the line?

    I mean when was the last time you saw a program on TV about a stay-at-home dad with a working mother which didn’t poke fun at how funny/wrong this situation is? Singling out Dapper Laughs doesn’t do anything for the underlying problem that their is a patriarchy in the media.

    My point is why isn’t there a show on ITV2 with a female making misogynistic comedy towards men? Or any other gender type with a comedy show? The problem is society isn’t balanced: free speech is only heard from a few and your ability to speak freely is harmed, things are labeled offensive and shut out. You can find fault in anything if you look deep enough. However this doesn’t take anyway the right to free speech and just because you are offended doesn’t make you right.

    As a white male I am almost never offended by TV and I think that is wrong. I want to be offended because that is how equality works. You don’t shut out opinions you should add more opinions to let people gain a balanced view.

    What ever happened to ‘sticks and stones’.. ?

  • Despite having my point probably rubbished as I’m part of the “echo” (yes, I’m a man who thinks women should be treated fairly too, and no, I’m not a militant), I take exception to the concept that:

    “Mentally ill people will make the calculation that rape is worth doing unless there is a sufficient deterrent.”

    It’s a gross-over exaggeration to talk about “mentally ill people” – this isn’t 1950 where they are kept locked up in an institution, our party is proudly leading the political debate on how mental health should be taken seriously, including reducing stigma.

    Making such rash statements such as this is not only damaging to this cause, it’s a wholly inappropriate thought regarding those with mental health issues (which, really, is most people).

    I’m not going to get involved with the crux of the debate, as I think everyone trying to input is just being barracked, so please can I ask one question – would you like to rephrase the sentence regarding the “mentally ill”, please?

  • Oh, also, suggesting a “deterrent” is what deters people from criminal or immoral acts doesn’t follow much psychological research, nor general understanding about behaviours and crime.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 13th Nov '14 - 9:04am

    Eddie Sammon’s unacceptable comment about people with mental ill health has now been edited to remove the particularly egregious part. He has also now been placed on pre-moderation so he will not be allowed to comment on the site without approval by one of the team. We are particularly aware that his behaviour prevents others taking part on any thread that’s written about gender equality and will not allow this to continue.

  • Richard Dean 13th Nov '14 - 9:29am

    Thanks Caron. I looked at this thread last night and thought that some of the comments were worse than the Dapper character they were commenting on.

    Entertainers do need to recognize that a significant fraction of the population take them as role models or use their products as educational materials or as justifications for behaviours. But they also provide ways for people to let off steam by imagining doing things they would never choose to do in real life. As Catherine wrote, so much is down to context, so some form of line needs to be drawn and its position will likely depend on how alert the audiences are likely to be.

    My expectation is that many people would find Dapper offensive and threatening. I’ve been mugged a couple of times by people with the attitudes he displays. I’m surprised he hasn’t been prosecuted for incitement or threatening behaviour.

  • Back to Dapper Laughs I failed to see any jokes. I am not adverse to ‘low-brow’ comedy but this felt nasty, exploitative (mainly of woman but also of men that do not share this goal of being a pwopah lad). You can do comedy in a way that is inclusive but plays on sexual tropes (i.e. Marcel Lucont) but for me Dapper Laughs just felt vile. That a limited ‘comic’ took the opportunity and money is one thing – that ITV commissioned and broadcast it is even more despairing.

  • Liberal Neil 13th Nov '14 - 9:57am

    Eddie Salmon – the difference between our comments was that I wasn’t making an assertions as if they were facts.

    You regularly assert things in your posts like “there are plenty of women who do the same to men” and then when you are challenged to provide evidence you say that you haven’t got time to go and look for any.

    The point is that if you don’t already have any evidence to back up a claim like that you would be better off not making it in the first place.

    Similarly the (now edited) point you made linking mental illness to propensity to rape.

  • Ched Evans is a fine example of the important messages that if you commit rape you go to prison, and that too drunk to consent implies rape. We feel contaminated at the thought of his playing football for us, but if he just went away might these messages be forgotten?

    And would remorse really make all the difference? Or would we still feel we didn’t want him for the same reasons? He may well believe his best chance of playing again is a successful appeal against the conviction.

  • I have no comment to make on the withdrawal of the ITV2 programme which confused comedy with sexist rubbish but I I do have a view on rehabilitation of people who leave prison after serving a sentence.

    It is a shame that the two subjects have been wrapped up as one because they are both very different in substance.

    Thousands of people leave prison every year. Why has this particular case raised so much interest ?

    In the Liberal tradition we have a proud record of promoting the rehabilitation of offenders.
    For generations Liberals have taken the line that if someone has served a prison sentence they have paid their debt to society.
    We used to take the line that ex-offenders should not be subjected to life-long humiliation or deprived of a job.
    So why are things different in this case?

    I did not sit in court to hear the facts presented at Ched Evans’ trial, nor have I read a transcript of the case.
    Maybe others have done so and are better informed than me.
    But my guess is that most people who are rushing to judgement to display their indignation know as little about the facts as I do.

    In the age of Twitter some people seem to think it is possible to sum up the facts of a complex court case in less than 140 characters. Slogans are so much easier than a considered and Liberal approach.
    We need to beware of the logic of the lynch mob.

  • Richard Dean 13th Nov '14 - 12:28pm

    Things are different firstly because a prison sentence does not “repay a debt to society”, and it especially doesn’t repay a “debt” by a rapist. It doesn’t undo that deed. Prison is about deterrence, hopefully achieving changed behaviour, but it’s not about repayment.

    Things are different secondly because footballers act as role models. The controversy he has generated is fine, as long as the outcome that people take away with them is that no, rapists don’t succeed in that way. If you want to be a role model, if you want people to respect you, don’t rape anyone.

  • John Broggio 13th Nov '14 - 12:43pm

    What I find hard to take in the case of Ched Evans post-release for his rape conviction, is his apparent refusal to express remorse or admit that he did anything wrong (other than being ashamed of committing an act of infidelity against his girlfriend). He is guilty of one of the worst crimes imaginable and yet is behaving as if he had done nothing legally or morally wrong to his victim.

    I personally find it difficult to believe someone should be rehabilitated before they have served their due punishment and expressed remorse, acting with due contrition and understanding *why* what they did was wrong, as well as apologising to the victim(s).

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 13th Nov '14 - 12:51pm

    @joe otten: There are better ways of getting across the messages you mention than seeing a convicted rapist be welcomd back to their former life. And he is still a convicted rapist until such times as an appeal succeeds.

    @johntilley: I took an interest in the details of the case. I have no reason to doubt the conviction and the evidence was pretty compelling. Clearly he has not been rehabilitated as he has not expressed remorse for the appalling acts of sexual violation he committed on a woman who was not capable of giving consent because she was so drunk.

    Like I said, rehabilitation isn’t automatic. If you aren’t prepared to show remorse and that you have changed your ways, you should not go back into a privileged position where you are a role model. That sends a message to society that Sheffield United does not consider rape to be serious.

  • How I agree his humour belongs in the dustbin of history, sick I’ll thought out and not funny

  • David Evans 13th Nov '14 - 2:35pm

    Richard Dean, you are concentrating on the form of individual words rather than their wider meaning. “Prisoners paying their debt to society” has been an acknowledged well understood phrase for many years used to sum up the overall effect of prison including the deterrent effect of incarceration and the loss of liberty; rehabilitation undertaken in prison and all the other aspects associated with it. I fear you may be looking for something to take issue with rather than to deal with the substance of John’s argument.

    In what he has said, John is simply totally correct. There are issues regarding people who work in fields which can make them role models, but to say footballers act as role models is to over egg it massively. Footballers work in a profession where it is possible to become a role model, but most do not become role models even in their local community. There have been many people who have done even worse than what Ched Evans was found guilty of, and have been allowed to return to even more prominent positions.

    It is a problem we haven’t solved as a society, but I don’t feel that there is “a lot more tolerance to men’s atrocious behaviour than there is for women who dare challenge them on it.” There is ‘a lot more nasty, overt intolerance by certain groups of anyone who dares to be different to them.’ Most people do not tolerate atrocious behaviour, and they don’t tolerate intolerance to those who challenge it. However, we must not persuade ourselves that the majority of people tolerate things just because a nasty vocal minority try to make life unpleasant. Believing the former leads people to give up and walk away; being part of the solution to the latter is part of the core of being a Lib Dem.

  • Richard Dean 13th Nov '14 - 2:56pm

    @David Evans,
    I’m afraid your argument is so wrong that I don’t know where to start in showing you why. Perhaps someone else could help? In Sharia Law, I’m told that a offence can be “paid for” by a sum of money paid to the victim’s family. In UK law, that does not apply, certainly not to rape or murder or GBH.

  • @Caron
    I haven’t read a great deal about the Ched Evans case but I just read through the appeal judgment (the previous time when he was refused league to appeal, though I believe he has a new appeal decision pending). It wasn’t explained clearly why the other guy on trial wasn’t convicted, do you know if there was a reason behind that? Seems a bit weird on the face of it.

    If he’s guilty, of course, then his attitude is repulsive and he has a looooong way to go if he ever hopes to be rehabilitated. If he did show genuine remorse and rehabilitation I think his return to football could be considered but if not, I wouldn’t want him in such a public, prominent job. Some jobs require people to be held to a higher standard than eg working in Tescos.

  • *leave to appeal, not league!

  • Liberal Neil 13th Nov '14 - 3:43pm

    @David Evans – one of the issues in this case is that rehabilitation doesn’t look likely as the guy still seems to be in denial that what he did was rape. he has shown no remorse.

    Can you give any examples of ‘many people who have done even worse than what Ched Evans was found guilty of, and have been allowed to return to even more prominent positions.’?

    @Catherine – the other guy on trial wasn’t convicted of rape because the jury decided that the woman had consented to have sex with him. In the case of Ched Evans they concluded that she hadn’t.

  • David Evans 13th Nov '14 - 3:47pm

    Richard, I’m afraid you are still looking at words to argue about not meanings to think about.

  • David Allen 13th Nov '14 - 4:41pm

    Catherine said:

    “Admittedly I don’t watch Dapper Laughs (may have to give it a go now just to see what the argument is about!) but I got the impression his rape jokes were meant sarcastically, i.e. intended to mock the people who think forcing sex on someone is acceptable? Maybe I’m wrong but the trouble with humour is that so much is down to context and interpretation.”

    Well, I don’t watch DL either, but I sure recognise the behavioural type, and I think we all should. It’s the “facing both ways” style of shock-jock false-comedy. What you do, when you want to get away with false-comedy, is to face both ways: you say something unacceptable, but at the same time, you pretend that it is the unacceptable thing that is in fact the butt of your “joke”. So that’s all right then.

    So, shock-jock types such as Clarkson keep repeatedly saying things that are not quite provably offensive. Clarkson always has an excuse to hand. Clarkson can always find plenty of innocent semi-liberal folks who solemnly declare that he should be given the benefit of the doubt, and that his accusers are an evil hard-left PC brigade who lack a sense of humour, or have a stupid political axe to grind, etcetera etcetera. Of course, every time Clarkson gets away with this stuff, he is doubtless laughing hysterically behind the back of his hand at his own briliance, both in creating “humour”, and in using that humour effectively for serious right-wing political ends. And many of his fans share in his right-wing “joke”.

    Facing-both-ways shock-jock “humour” should be recognised as false humour – and scorned!

  • A question for Caron and all those in this thread who insist that footballers are very significant high profile public role models.

    Can you name one other Sheffield footballer from either Sheffield Utd or Sheffield Wednesday?

    Liberals traditionally draw a line between justice and revenge.
    Liberals do not usually support a policy of giving different punishments on the basis of the class or job title of those fond guilty. We usually talk about equality before the law.
    If the sentence for a crime is considered inadequate surely the logical thing to do is to change the sentencing policy rather than whip up a mob mentality about one particular individual?
    Every week of the year there are people released from prison who have served sentences for murder, extreme violence and other appalling crimes.
    Is the logic of this thread that because they are not footballers and there is no Twitter campaign about them and their crime does not tick all the relevant boxes for media outrage, we can treat them differently?

  • Richard Dean 13th Nov '14 - 6:27pm

    The essential assumption or “meaning” that is hidden in the phrase “paid for his crime” is that there is an end, a finish for the perpetrator, after which the slate is wiped clean.

    However, it is not usually the case that the victim of rape recovers quickly, if at all. For most victims, many years can be needed to partially recover, and for many the slate is probably never wiped clean.

    For this reason, I do not believe that there is a time after which a rapist has “paid his debt to society”. And certainly not after just two and half years.

    Nor do I believe any clever twisting of the meanings of phrases will change my belief.

  • Eddie Sammon 13th Nov '14 - 7:17pm

    I make an unreserved apology for my comment on mental illness.

  • @ Liberal Neil
    Yes, I get that, but based on what, since the woman can’t remember what happened? If she could remember consenting to one but not the other then I would see the logic but she can’t remember anything. Besides, I thought the case wasn’t about consent/non-consent (obviously, because that would require the woman’s testimony that she did not consent) – instead, the case rested on her *capacity* to consent, or lack of capacity if she was too drunk, and on that score the jury seem to want to have it both ways.

    @ JohnTilley
    I agree about justice vs revenge but there are also some professions where your “character” is a factor in deciding whether you should be employed in that job or not. The LDs, for instance, have a “bringing into disrepute” clause with which to kick people out. Chris Huhne would never be allowed back as an MP and all he did was fiddle his speeding points.

  • Adam Robertson 13th Nov '14 - 8:10pm

    I was very loathe to respond to this article, but after seeing what, John Tilley has written, I have to concur with what he has said. I agree with John, that as Liberals, we seek to rehabilitate offenders after their spell in prison. Ched Evans wants to move on with his life and I think we should accept that. I do understand where Caron and others are coming from but I think he should be allowed to move on with his life.

    If he was to do it again, then I may well think again on whether he should be playing professional football. Lee Hughes, who spent 3 years in Prison, for causing death by dangerous driving, came out of prison, to play for Oldham Athletic. I accept that he did apologize for his actions but both offences are both indictment offences. Although, Ched Evans, is different in not apologizing, I would use the precedent set by Lee Hughes.

    On the wider point about sexism, I do accept that it still exists and that we need to tackle this culture. It is a problem within Universities, especially within Rugby and Football societies. There have been numerous incidents on campuses, in regarding sexist remarks being made. We have to tackle this at the bottom of the society, this is a process, which has to come from the bottom, as well, as the top of society.

  • David Allen 14th Nov '14 - 1:18am

    Catherine, if the story I read is correct, the guy who got off was CCTVd gently shepherding the woman to his hotel room, and in those circumstances it might be hard to prove lack of consent, even if she now can’t remember anything. According to what I read, Evans came along later, blagged a key to the hotel room, asked for his turn, and what’s more, filmed it. A bit different.

  • Ched Evans will have been advised by his legal team not to apologise because doing so suggests he was indeed guilty of rape & would be extremely detrimental to his appeal.

    Sentencing by judges does not demand apologies to victims & even if he did, how does those three words help ? Who do they help ?

    Having seen the video from the hotel, I think there are questions to be asked about why the evidence of it wasn’t considered in court & I imagine he will be granted leave to appeal on that basis. I may of course be wrong and an appeal denied.

  • @ David Allen
    Agreed, very different (and don’t get me wrong, I think Evans sounds like a total sleaze) but I still struggle to see how any of that would convict someone without direct evidence that there was no consent. Normally that evidence would be the woman’s testimony that she didn’t consent and then the jury would have to decide if they believed her beyond reasonable doubt. In that scenario the surrounding circumstances you mentioned would be relevant to the jury in deciding which side they believed. But in this case there was no evidence of lack of consent – hence the case centered not on whether or not she consented but whether or not she had the capacity to consent.

    The prosecution case was not that she didn’t consent, it was that she was too drunk to give meaningful consent. And unless I’ve read it wrong, no time elapsed between the two sexual encounters so she was equally drunk when the other guy had sex with her. The judge said in his sentencing that the jury’s verdict was based on the fact that “she was in no state to have sex”. If that’s true, why didn’t they convict the other guy who also had sex with her while she was in the same state?

  • matt (Bristol) 14th Nov '14 - 11:58am

    I agree with Joe that it is entirely appropriate that concerned citizens in Sheffield represent their concerns to the club and make the club realise it has a choice to make which has consequences for its reputation.

    If the football clubs and the Professional Footballers’ Association (who are a key player here in putting pressure on Sheffield Utd to take on Mr Evans for training) had any sense, they’d collaborate with others to fund a charity to set up three or four regional centres for the physical and social rehabilitation of ex-offenders of all kinds who have a sporting interest or past professional involvement and are trying to get fit again and considering their options; re-education regarding behaviour to others would be part of such a programme.

    That way, clubs (maybe cynically) could wash their hands of controversial ex-employees whilst they were still toxic, but cco-fund a way of getting them back to match fitness (if the club chose to re-employ the person) once they’d sufficiently worn the hair shirt.

    The PFA would also be discharging what it seems to feel are its duties to its members.

    Anybody who has studied the (often pretty odious) careers of Lee Bowyer and Joey Barton can tell you that football has a long habit of recycling violent, offensive and controversial professionals in the name of ‘rehabilitation’, but still, that doesn’t mean that rehabilitation is not offered to such men. In that sense, I agree with John Tilley.

  • The first problem as I see it in this case is that the if guilty (and we should assume he is) his sentence was far too short. As a father of two young daughters I’m horrified that any rape should attract such a short custodial sentence.

    But once that element is over a released offender (with obvious exceptions) should not be precluded from employment. That said there is nothing at all wrong in this case with stakeholders expressing their displeasure at the potential re-employment by Sheffield Utd or the club deciding not to employ him on that basis.

    I’m not in favour of insisting on contrition and apologies. He may very well genuinely believe he is innocent and in other high profile cases people have eventually been proven to be so. Any apology must be sincere or it’s meaningless.

  • Jayne Mansfield 14th Nov '14 - 2:05pm

    @ John Tilley.
    I still read Liberal Democratic Voice because of the quality of the arguments and the civilised way in which they are presented. I hope you are keeping well.

    On this matter, I have to disagree with you , which is difficult because I too believe in rehabilitation. I have close associations with Sheffield so there is emotion mixed with reason, but I do not think he should be allowed to play for Sheffield United.

    Why? Because before there can be rehabilitation, there needs to be remorse. This man has shown no remorse for the crime for which he was found guilty by a British jury. No apology has been offered to the girl. It is she who has been named and vilified. It is she who has had to change her lifestyle and hide in the shadows despite being the victim.

    If football wishes to call itself a profession, then professional standards should apply. I don’t object to Ched Evans’ rehabilitation, but I do not consider that he should be allowed to resume a professional career whilst still deemed to have been guilty of this particular offence. ( My grandsons could name the players in the Sheffield United team, footballers are Gods to them).

    If one wishes to see exemplary role modelling one has to look no further than Jessica Ennis- Hill who acknowledges the burden that being a role model confers on an individual. There are other professions where this sort of behaviour would preclude someone from resuming where they left off. He can seek rehabilitation in another job that releases him from the higher responsibility of being a role model, as would be the case of those in other professions that accords respect to a person in return for a particular high standard of behaviour.

    My sympathy lies with the girl. I remember a girl in the sixties who must have wobbled senseless along the streets of Sheffield in the early hours. I’m not sure how she got home but she got home safely and slept it off. Some are not so lucky.

  • Nonconformistradical 14th Nov '14 - 4:45pm

    @Adam Robertson

    “Ched Evans wants to move on with his life”

    His victim hasn’t had much chance to move on with hers – as I understand it she has had to change her identity twice.

  • Helen Tedcastle 15th Nov '14 - 2:15pm

    I find myself in agreement with Caron Lindsay on this issue and all those on here (mainly women) who have expressed their revulsion at ‘dapper laughs’ – his so-called irony is so buried under the sexist bravura he comes out with that I’m glad his brand of ‘humour’ has been been taken off air. It was simply a licence for ‘the lads’ to denigrate women and pretend it’s acceptable. I thought that kind of ‘comedy’ had been consigned to history – if not, it should be.

    On Ched Evans: as Jayne Mansfield comments, this man shows no remorse whatsoever and has only served half his sentence anyway. He is a role model for young fans of Sheffield United and Wales, even if he is relatively unknown in the rest of England. Of course he should not play as a high profile footballer – his crime was an act of violence for which he is in denial. His victim has had her life ruined.

    What kind of message does he send to boys and young men if he continues? He should be rehabilitated in another walk of life less subject to less public scrutiny and influence.

  • “Having seen the video from the hotel, I think there are questions to be asked about why the evidence of it wasn’t considered in court & I imagine he will be granted leave to appeal on that basis. I may of course be wrong and an appeal denied.”

    Point of information. The Evans case has been before the Court of Appeal where it was considered by a 3 Judge panel headed by the Lord Chief Justice which concluded, “We can see no possible basis which would justify us to interfere with the verdict of the jury which heard all the evidence and reflected on it following a careful summing up by the judge.”

    I don’t know about the non-admissibility or not of any CCTV evidence from the hotel – the Judge made reference to some CCTV footage so I find it very hard to see why other parts of it would be held inadmissible. But it should be noted that the non-admission of this was not argued as a ground of appeal so it’s fair to conclude that his defence team don’t think it of much relevance. Evans’ barrister at trial was a QC of 15 years standing – it’s as near to inconceivable as I can think that the issue was missed or ignored.

    The matter is now with the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

    Court of Appeal judgment –

  • I have read the comments from Jayne Mansfield and Helen Tedcastle and pay particular attention to what they have said. They are both people who make reasonable and serious comments in LDV and their comments are always worth reading. As well as Jayne and Helen others have made interesting and serious contributions to this discussion.

    My own earlier two comments were made on the basis that, as I said, —“..I did not sit in court to hear the facts presented at Ched Evans’ trial, nor have I read a transcript of the case.”

    My comments were made on the basis that someone had been found guilty of a crime by a jury and had been sentenced by a judge.
    I don’t think there is any disagreement by anyone in this thread about those facts.

    My point was not to undermine the decision of the court or the facts of the case that resulted in the court’s decision.
    Indeed my point was the exact opposite of that. The court came to a decision, the authorities have carried out the sentence. The individual concerned has been to prison and now has been released. Nobody is suggesting that he has benefited from any special concessions or special treatment from the authorities.

    I do not think anybody who has been released from prison having served their sentence should then be subjected to further media campaigns to inflict additional punishments and humiliation.

    To say this may not win me any friends but I happen to think there is an important principle here which Liberals should stick to.

  • Helen Tedcastle 15th Nov '14 - 6:30pm

    John Tilley
    You have made a perfectly valid and reasonable point and I am normally in agreement with you on most issues.

    I agree that a media witch-hunt is neither satisfactory nor desirable. Evans is a convicted criminal and normally, such offenders be given space to make amends for their crime.

    However, there are two other key points in this case. First, Evans continues to deny he did anything wrong and went on TV to say so, because he wants to play for Sheffield Utd again. Having read the facts of the case, I am not sure how someone with integrity could assert that. His behaviour before and after the crime are equally questionable and do not suggest that this someone who is a responsible role model or of reliable moral character. Second, he has served half a prison sentence and should be rehabilitated in the community. There are plenty of other ways this man can be rehabilitated without damaging the community.

    The fact that Sheffield United are allowing him to train with them has ignited this row. It was not sought by people like Jessica Ennis-Hill.

    Football is a very high profile profession where players are expected – whether we like it or not – to be role models for impressionable youngsters. As I don’t think convicted sex offenders should continue to teach, I don’t think footballers who commit sex crimes should return to play football.

  • Stevan Rose 16th Nov '14 - 2:20am

    I don’t understand why anyone would expect Evans to show remorse when he vehemently denies guilt and is appealing his conviction. Remorse would indicate he has admitted guilt. Does anyone need to be reminded of the Stephen Downing case where a lack of remorse led to him serving 27 years before his conviction was overturned. He was in denial until it turned out he hadn’t committed the crime.

    That Evans’ co-accused, Clayton McDonald, was acquitted of the same offence despite what appears to be identical evidence seems very odd. If you look at the detail of Evans’ appeal grounds, including the CCTV footage, a miscarriage seems a possibility. Whilst that possibility remains open my own inclination would be not to pre-judge the appeal. In the meantime, if anyone who has studied the case can explain to me why McDonald was not guilty whilst Evans was guilty, I’d be grateful.

  • Helen Tedcastle 16th Nov '14 - 1:35pm

    Stevan Rose

    I’m not sure how anyone can compare one case where a person is sent to jail for 27 years for a crime they did not commit and the Evans case. Are you suggesting this case is a miscarriage of justice? Of course he didn’t think he committed a crime – why is that surprising in cases of rape and the issue of consent? Isn’t this why until very recently, women have been reluctant to come forward out of fear of not being believed?

  • “If you look at the detail of Evans’ appeal grounds, including the CCTV footage”

    That was not part of his appeal to the Court of Appeal. Those were inconsistent verdicts, misdirection of the jury and the “lurking doubt” principle. The Court of Appeal was not on reading their judgement either asked to look at fresh CCTV evidence or consider whether CCTV evidence had been wrongly excluded (and I can’t for the life of me understand what grounds there would be for excluding some CCTV footage when other bits were relied upon by the prosecution)

    It is possible that someone who has been a QC for 16 years overlooked the importance of CCTV evidence (which was at least in part used by the prosecution) at both trial and on appeal but it seems a tad unlikely.

    “Whilst that possibility remains open my own inclination would be not to pre-judge the appeal. In the meantime”
    As stated above there has already been an appeal.

    “if anyone who has studied the case can explain to me why McDonald was not guilty whilst Evans was guilty, I’d be grateful.”
    Well simply put the Crown didn’t prove the case against him. Just on the basic facts there is a massive difference between a situation where a woman goes (seemingly) willingly to room with a man and has sex and where another (different) man then gets a key to that room and lets himself in without her knowing. See the Court of Appeal judgment on the issue of inconsistent verdicts is considered there (paras 19 and 20).

  • Helen, I agree it’s terrible for rape victims to feel they won’t be believed and although we’ve made progress there is still more to be done to counteract misogynistic stereotypes and “slut-shaming”….but that doesn’t mean absolutely everyone who makes an allegation of rape has actually been raped. Human beings can lie about everything single thing under the sun. Is rape the one and only exception? Of course not. A few years ago one of my colleagues inflicted some pretty serious injuries on himself just to fake an excuse for sick leave. He was eventually found out but for a while he had everyone fooled, mostly because it honestly didn’t occur to anyone that he would go to such (painful!) lengths.

    False allegations happen and so too do miscarriages of justice, in all types of cases not just murder. Juries get things wrong, judges get things wrong… they’re all human. Look at this case, for example, where the conviction was overturned on a very similar logic to that which Evans is arguing:

  • Just to clarify in case my previous comment gave the wrong impression, I should add that I’m not saying the Ched Evans case was a false allegation or that the woman involved is lying. She says she remembers nothing and I see no reason to disbelieve her – but that basically means that even *she* doesn’t actually know whether she was raped or not. Maybe she gave consent, maybe she didn’t, but without her memory of events there is no basis for conviction except by advancing a case based on lack of capacity to consent by reason of intoxication, which is what the prosecution did. But on that basis, as Stevan Rose pointed out, how can one defendant be convicted and the other acquitted when her capacity was identical with both? That’s why I think there’s a very good chance the conviction was unsafe (whether he’ll be granted leave to appeal is another matter given the publicity it would generate).

  • Stevan Rose 16th Nov '14 - 9:44pm

    Helen – yes, I think there is a possibility of a miscarriage on the surface based on the CCTV and McDonald acquittal. At the very least there are explanations needed.

    Hywel – I understand Evans was refused leave to appeal previously so there has not been an appeal to date. The Criminal Cases Review Commission is now apparently fast-tracking an investigation according to the BBC. The case seems to hinge not on whether consent was given since the woman has no recollection but on whether the woman was capable of giving consent due to intoxication. In which case there is no difference between Evans and McDonald.

    Perhaps I should correct what I said previously – I wouldn’t want to pre-judge a CCRC investigation and then possible appeal.

  • Semantically you are right. But a leave to appeal looks at what will be the grounds to be argued at an appeal hearing and considers whether there is a likelihood of success (I’m not sure off the top of my head what the standard is but will be self-evidently lower than an actual appeal). It will also take any new evidence at the “highest” as it won’t actually be challenged.

    So as a judicical process which can consider fresh evidence if available (and I don’t think the appeal was on that ground).

    The commentators above need to read the reasons given by the Court of Appeal which address the different verdict point.

    The Middlesbrough case is different on two points. Firstly the other person was charged with aiding and abetting – you can’t aid and abet an offence that didn’t happen (actually and pedantically you probably can but lets leave that extremely obscure bit of law!). Secondly the judiciary have looked at the case and decided that it was a possibly unsafe verdict which needed to go to appeal – which it did and was overturned.

    Also worth noting that if there was so little difference between the two defendants it is signifcant that both the acquittal and conviction verdicts were unanimous decisions.

  • Catherine,

    “She says she remembers nothing and I see no reason to disbelieve her – but that basically means that even *she* doesn’t actually know whether she was raped or not. Maybe she gave consent, maybe she didn’t, but without her memory of events there is no basis for conviction except by advancing a case based on lack of capacity to consent by reason of intoxication, which is what the prosecution did.”

    If she purported to give consent, how is it possible to prove beyond reasonable doubt that her consent was vitiated by intoxication if we do not know precisely how intoxicated she was at the time?

    I do not like the man, even less the appalling way he behaved, but I do not consider that he should have been convicted on the evidence presented.

  • The victim didn’t really do herself any favours when she deleted her Twitter account before the trial. Since then the following tweets were somehow traced to her account, the tweets were made after the two men were charge, but before the trial.

    “Remind me never to tell @XXXXXXX when I win big!….. She’s going to kill me! #scaredformylife! Haha!’”

    “‘@XXXXXXX I will get us matching pink Mini Coopers! Haha! Just seen them pictures on Facebook, I forgot bout XXXXXXX! Haha! X’”

    “‘@XXXXXXX I’ll make all your dreams come true XXXXXXX haha.’”

    “‘@XXXXXXX aww,well obvs I’d treat us to an amazing holiday x’”

  • @Hywel
    I’ve read the appeal court decision and it still makes absolutely no sense to me because, as I said above, this case was not about consent it was about CAPACITY to consent, a fact the appeal judgment seems to ignore. No evidence was advanced that the complainant did not consent, so the prosecution case rested on the argument that she was incapable of consent due to intoxication. If the jury convicted based on non-consent then they convicted without evidentiary basis. The only evidentiary basis on which to convict was incapacity.

    Thus there can only be a sensible basis for the different verdicts if either:
    a) she was less drunk when McDonald had sex with her than when Evans did, or
    b) Evans could be reasonably expected to realise she was too drunk while McDonald could not be expected to realise.

    a) is not possible since hardly any time elapsed between the two sexual encounters.

    b) is the logic on which the Middlesborough guy was convicted while his co-accused was not – the jury presumably reasoned that the guy they convicted KNEW the complainant was not consenting but the other guy didn’t realise. I can see how that could be possible in some cases but there would have to be evidence of a difference in knowledge between the two defendants. In this case, it makes no sense since McDonald spent considerably more time with her than Evans did so, if anything, he would be more likely to know how drunk she was. Besides, if she was drunk enough to legally invalidate her consent that would have to mean she couldn’t meaningfully participate in events, i.e. she was lying there virtually incapable of walking or talking or doing anything. If that was her state then there would be no excuse for EITHER defendant not to realise she couldn’t meaningfully consent, so McDonald’s acquittal surely negates the idea that the jury thought she was in such a state.

    I agree with Sensenco, I don’t like the man but I can’t see how he is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of rape, especially if McDonald is not.

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