MP Nigel Evans trial: Witness denies ‘orchestrating’ claims by other alleged victims (From Burnley and Pendle Citizen)
When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
MP Nigel Evans trial: Witness denies ‘orchestrating’ claims by other alleged victims
8:00pm Thursday 13th March 2014 in News
A WITNESS in the trial of Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans has denied ‘orchestrating’ claims by other alleged victims.
The man, who said Evans, 56, put his hand in his boxer shorts as he slept on the sofa at the politician’s home in Pendleton, denied he had got his ‘head together’ with other accusers.
Preston Crown Court heard the witness felt ‘backed into a corner’ as the investigation into Evans ‘spiralled out of control'.
It came after he made a 'throwaway remark' to Tory MP Sarah Wollaston that he had been abused as they drank wine.
She then arranged for a meeting to take place with House of Commons speaker John Bercow.
Prosecutor Peter Wright QC read from the witnesses’ police interview in which he said: “Wow, this is what is happening, I am sort of powerless.
“She said ‘I want you to meet with him at some point to discuss this’. I was like ‘right that is quite hard core’.”
Mr Wright continued: “You had started a ball rolling with an off-the-cuff comment to Dr Sarah Wollaston some time before and that off-the-cuff comment lead to a situation in which eventually, you had to give an account to the police.”
Under cross-examination the complainant also denied that the alleged assault was a drunken pass and that he simply ‘brushed it off’.
Mr Wright said: “What happened was a pass at you by this man on the sofa in which his hand got onto your chest and down as far as your abdomen before you brushed it off.”
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “That is a lie.”
The barrister put it to the complainant that the detail of the alleged event ‘gathered momentum particularly once the complaint had been made’.
“That is incorrect,” replied the witness.
The lawyer also claimed the witness had ‘put up’ other complainants ‘to bolster the allegations’, which the witness said was untrue.
Evans denies two counts of indecent assault, six of sexual assault and one of rape.
The complainant told jurors he and Evans had not been keen to report the matter to police and that he and Evans had ‘normalised’ their relationship.
He also told the court that he hoped to write his memoirs if he succeeded in politics.
Mr Wright said: “Part of your motivation for coming forward in all of this was hoping to make a difference - that noble sentiment.”
“I hope so, yes,” said the complainant.
The barrister continued: “And how you might be able to write your memoirs about your time in politics?”
“Yes,” said the witness.
The complainant's girlfriend at the time then took to the witness box and told the court she thought the MP was in love with her then boyfriend.
The woman, told the jury her ex, then aged 23, was ‘in disbelief’ and ‘really angry’ Evans had touched him.
She said: "I knew he (Evans) was attracted to him.
"I knew there was frequent, in my view, what I would consider inappropriate contact between them.
"It's true, I absolutely formed the opinion he had fallen in love with my boyfriend."
Mr Wright asked why she had never got the MP's version of events.
"Nigel never liked me very much," she replied, adding that in social situations he would avoid talking to her.
The complainant's mother told the jury she saw her son with the MP the day after the alleged incident.
She told the court: "I know my son. I just felt there was something wrong, it seemed like there was a problem between them."
Asked her reaction on being told of the alleged incident involving her son, she said she felt: "Sick."
Evans' trial began on Monday with the prosecution claiming he used his ‘powerful'’ political influence to take sexual advantage of seven young men, often while drunk.
It is alleged he had the ‘ability to make or break' careers and assaulted the alleged victims in his home, House of Commons bars and his office in the Palace of Westminster.