17:35, April 10 256 0 theguardian.com

2019-04-10 17:35:06
Ched Evans settles out of court over lawyers’ handling of rape case

The Welsh footballer Ched Evans has agreed an out-of-court settlement with lawyers over their handling of a rape case in which he was imprisoned. It is understood to be around £800,000.

The former Manchester City and Sheffield United striker went through a five-year battle to clear his name having served two and a half years in prison. He was cleared after an appeal.

This month the 30-year-old, now on loan with Fleetwood Town, agreed the settlement with Brabners, the legal firm which he used in the first trial. At the time, he was playing for Sheffield United and was earning a reported £18,000 a week.

The case had been due to go before the high court this month.

A Brabners spokesman 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.”

Evans was convicted in April 2012 of raping a 19-year-old in a Premier Inn near Rhyl, north Wales, the previous May. The court of appeal quashed his conviction and ordered a retrial in 2016.

Private investigators gathered new evidence and a £50,000 reward was offered for information to help his case.

In a rare move, the jury at Cardiff crown court heard from two men who had had sex with the complainant around the time of the rape allegation.

The jury of seven women and five men took less than three hours to find Evans not guilty of the charge after an eight-day trial. After the verdict, Evans said he was “overwhelmed with relief”.

A statement on Evans’s website read: “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.”