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Evans: ‘Prosecution service should pay my £130,000 legal costs’

MP Nigel Evans

MP Nigel Evans

Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans has called for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to repay his £130,000 legal expenses after he was cleared of a string of sex offences.

Mr Evans, who was found not guilty of rape and sexual assaults at Preston Crown Court last week, said the case had cost him his entire life savings.

In an interview with a Sunday newspaper, the former deputy speaker of the House of Commons said that he contemplated suicide during the “very darkest moments” of his 11-month ordeal, which he described as a witch-hunt and “a very public execution attempt”.

The 56-year-old, whose constituency covers Farington, Lostock Hall, Tardy Gate and Bamber Bridge, called for a review of laws that grant anonymity to alleged victims of sex crimes, which he said were “unbalanced”, and questioned the way the CPS had handled recent cases of historic sexual allegations against high-profile people.

The MP said: “I feel cheated by the fact that if my seven accusers and I walked down the street none of them would be recognised but I would be because I was the only one who was named. And I have been cleared, while their allegations have been shown to be false.”

Mr Evans said the legal battle had cost him his £130,000 life savings, saying: “Every penny is gone, in addition to the £30,000-a-year additional parliamentary salary I was paid as deputy speaker.

“If someone is dragged through the courts through no fault of their own and is acquitted they should get their legal fees back from the CPS budget.”

Mr Evans, who lives in Pendleton, added: “The fact is that people in the public limelight are getting special treatment - the wrong type.

“People in the limelight have been made victims.”

 

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