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Sunday, 11 January 2015

Ched Evans - The Return Of Mob Justice?

I’ve been following this story for a while, and the reaction of the British public has made me increasingly uneasy. In the eyes of the law Ched Evans is a convicted rapist, for which he has served a prison sentence. My understanding is that once this has been done a person has paid his or her debt to society. Yet apparently this is not the case, as wherever Ched Evans tries to seek employment any chance of a deal is scuppered by a baying mob. A mob with absolutely no legal standing, and one making tacit threats to kick up merry hell should any club forge a deal with this young professional footballer. Now I do not know Ched Evans and I cannot comment on the content of his character. What I can assert is that we appear to be applying a different standard to him than we do to other convicted persons. I’ve heard the cries that as a role model he must be subject to a higher standard. Yet I think that we need to be very careful not to go too far down this track because all manner of moral pitfalls lie in wait. First and foremost he is a fallible human being, and we all carry that burden. Also, it is for the legal system to seek justice for the victim, and this has been done in the case of Evans. Irrespective of whether he continues to protest his innocence, or whether he is contrite, or even whether the victim herself has struggled to move on is not the point. Either we apply the same standard or we do not, and what I am seeing here is a kind of mob rule that troubles me deeply. In any decent society rights exist for both victim and offender, and it is for the courts reach a verdict. Sentence was passed, time was served. Does Evans now have to undergo further exile by virtue of the fact that his profession is high profile, or that his wage packet is likely to dwarf ours? Plenty of rapists have come from corporate backgrounds and earned a stack of money, whilst in the shadows they have manipulated and abused others. Are we preventing them from returning to work? As such, I ask for no more than a level playing field, or to be precise I’m asking for our judicial system to be respected. And I do not think we are doing this at present, and I’m reaching the point where I’m tiring of those trying to make a moral case when some of their actions appear to be adding additional punishment to a debt that has been fulfilled. For some reason I’ve hesitated about writing on this subject, because I know the way this goes. I’m branded a rape sympathiser, an enabler of abusers. I’m afraid you would be much mistaken should you seek to steer me down either path. I want our laws to mean something, and once a debt has been paid I want the guilty to be given the opportunity to move on.

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