UK & World News

  • 9 April 2014, 15:04

Nigel Evans Sex Assault Trial: Jury Retires

The jury in the trial of Nigel Evans MP has retired to consider its verdicts.

Evans denies allegations of sexual assault, attempted sexual assault, indecent assault and rape.

During the trial at Preston Crown Court, seven men have told the jury they were assaulted by the MP.

The judge, Mr Justice King, has spent more than a day reminding jurors of what they have heard during the trial which has lasted almost five weeks.

He told the jury they must not treat the evidence they heard from Evans differently to evidence they have heard from other witnesses.

He said: "You have to assess Mr Evans in the same way you assess any other witness. Don't in any way treat him differently because he's come from the dock.

"Equally, don't treat him differently because he's a Member of Parliament."

The prosecution alleges Evans used his "powerful" political position, as the MP for Ribble Valley and deputy speaker, to take advantage of young men.

All of the alleged assaults are said to have taken place when Evans had been drinking.

One man alleges Evans put his hand down his trousers in a bar in Soho.

Alleged assaults are said to have taken place on other men at the Tory conference in 2003, in the Strangers Bar at the House of Commons and in the kitchenette on the deputy speaker's corridor.

The MP denies that any of those events took place.

Evans accepts he "made a pass" at a young Westminster worker who was staying on the sofa at the MP's constituency home after a party, but denies it was sexual assault.

The judge reminded the jury the account given to them by a student who claims Evans raped him was "quite different" to Evans' account of what went on.

The 22-year-old man, who was staying at Evans' home in Pendleton in Lancashire, says he woke to find Evans on top of him.

Evans says the pair had consensual sex in his bedroom.

He faces one charge of rape, two of indecent assault and six of sexual assault, said to have taken place on various dates between 2002 and last year.

Evans stood down as deputy speaker of the House of Commons after he was charged in connection with the allegations. He remains the independent MP for Ribble Valley.