Britain’s former Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons, Nigel Evans, has been found not guilty of all sexual assault charges against him, and one rape charge.
Evans, who is still a Member of Parliament, was charged last September with two counts of indecent assault, five of sexual assault and one of rape. His trial concluded earlier this week, with the jury returning a verdict moments ago: not guilty on all counts.
Evans resigned as deputy speaker of the House of Commons after he was charged, and pledged to “see this through to the end”.
He took the stand two weeks ago to plead his case, and colleagues, many of them Members of Parliament, also provided character witnesses for the accused man.
Presiding over the case, Mr Justice King said told the jury the ‘good character of Mr Evans’ is something you should take into account’ when considering the reliability of his evidence and the likelihood of his committing criminal acts.
Throughout the trial Mr Evans was supported in the public gallery by a string of friends, family and senior Lancashire Conservatives. They included the Mayor of Clitheroe, Cllr Kevin Horkin, the Leader of the Lancashire County Council Conservatives, Cllr Jeff Driver and the Chairman of Ribble Valley Conservatives.
They were joined by a clutch of current and former Evans staffers, one of whom had flown in from France to support her ex-boss.Family and friends included the MPs sister and the actress Vicky Entwistle, who played Janice Battersby in ‘Coronation Street’.
Evans is expected to return to work in Westminster very soon, with Conservative Party sources tellingBreitbart London that he can now expect a campaign to get him his deputy speaker position back.