One of the claimants who accused Nigel Evans of sexual assault has given his first and only interview exclusively to this blog. Guido confronts the accuser with claims that he lied in court and colluded with others as part of a conspiracy to destroy the former deputy speaker. The crucial role of Tory MP Sarah Wollaston in the case case going to court is laid bare, the claimant gives his reaction to the verdict and reveals he is considering launching a civil action against Evans. He also gives a tacit admission that witnesses were in communication with each other before the trial.
When Nigel Evans was found not guilty of all charges on Thursday the first reaction for one of his seven accusers was shock. “Shocked because I couldn’t understand how the jury reached its conclusion on my count with the wealth of evidence that was presented in Court. I have to accept that, but it’s a bloody hard pill to swallow.” The judge did not agree in his summation about this supposed ‘wealth of evidence’.
That shock, he says, turned to anger when Evans appeared defiant in interviews with several Sunday newspapers. “Nigel would not admit a crime, he did admit making an inappropriate drunken pass at me. Surely that is wrong. His audacity in the aftermath of the trial is galling. To see him paint himself as the victim in all this is just awful.”
Evans has expressed considerable anger with Tory MP Sarah Wollaston, who the claimant confirms played a crucial role in the decision to press charges: “I met with her twice and we talked on the phone twice. She outlined that she believed I had a duty of care to other people to take it forward”. Wollaston has even been in touch since the verdict. “That was it until after the trial when we spoke once.” Did she pressure him? “At no time did Sarah put me under any pressure whatsoever.” Did she, as Evans implies, have an ulterior motive? “I reject that idea entirely.” Many of Wollaston’s colleagues disagree…
This claimant was not accused by the defence of changing his story, unlike other witnesses during the trial. He was however accused of colluding with the other witnesses. When asked if he communicated with any of the other witnesses, the ‘victim’ dodged the question. “When interviewed by the police they are obliged to ask you if you know or have reason to believe that anyone else has been a victim. I gave the police a bunch of names of people I knew had had similar experiences with Nigel.” Guido asked again. “Some of the victims knew each other. People who know each other talk but not about the evidence they are going to give in Court.” Guido says he will take that as a yes. This is the most defensive the ‘victim’ gets during the entire interview. He again refuses to answer but insists: “When I gave evidence I gave over my mobile phone to the police to analyse knowing that even deleted data could be recovered. The defence could find nothing in that data to prove their collusion suggestion because it just wasn’t the case.” Nothing in writing.
At this point Guido put it to the accuser that he was part of a witch-hunt, a conspiracy between ruthlessly ambitious people telling lies to destroy an honest man. He had been found out and Evans had been shown to be not guilty. “I am ambitious but I’m not ruthless. I have gained nothing from this. I wouldn’t have gained anything if they jury had returned a guilty verdict either. I have put myself through a long and painful trial where elements of my private life have been laid bare. I know I have ‘anonymity’ but my family and friends have easily pieced together which bits have been about me and that has been humiliating. I was advised by friends that going forward with my complaint would harm my chances of having a career in politics. I wasn’t focused on that. I was focused on doing the right thing and I stand by that.” No such anonymity for Evans.
Nigel Evans was cleared by a jury. They found that the accusers’ allegations could not be proved and indeed there were doubts about the testimony of the accusers. The admission that communication took place between witnesses before the trial suggests the judge was right to not “rule out the possibility that some form of collusion had taken place between some of the complainants”…