Thu, Mar 13, 2014 - Page 6 News List

Trio deny being sex assault victims of British lawmaker

AFP, LONDON

Then-British deputy speaker of parliament Nigel Evans leaves after addressing the media outside the Houses of Parliament in central London on May 7 last year.

Photo: AFP

Three men allegedly drunkenly sexually assaulted by a former British deputy speaker of parliament do not consider themselves victims of any offense, a court heard on Tuesday.

None of the men made a complaint to the police about Nigel Evans, who was forced to resign his post in the lower chamber of parliament after he was charged in September last year.

The openly gay lawmaker, 56, denies nine charges dating from 2002 to last year involving seven men. They include two counts of indecent assault, six of sexual assault and one of rape.

On the second day of Evans’ trial at Preston Crown Court in northwest England, the first three of his alleged victims — who cannot be identified — gave evidence from the witness box.

The court — told on Monday how Evans’ behavior was often driven by alcohol — heard on Tuesday how one victim forgave his alleged advances and e-mailed his support when Evans was arrested.

The gay man compared Evans’ actions in a London bar in 2003 — when the lawmaker was the Conservative Party’s spokesman on Wales — to “a drunken 14-year-old at a disco who could not chat you up with words.”

“We were out one night and the shadow secretary of state for Wales put his hands down my trousers. Crazy, crazy Westminster. It seemed so funny,” he said.

He dismissed the incident as “just Nigel being drunken Nigel” and “not in a million years” did the man think he would end up appearing in court over the incident.

The next witness gave his account of a “clearly heavily intoxicated” Evans allegedly twice attempting to put his hand down his trousers at the 2003 Conservative Party annual conference.

“I felt like it was someone being a bit of a drunken lech in a bar,” the Conservative parliamentary worker said. “At no point when looking back at it now did I see any malice or any sexual intent. It was an alcohol problem, as far as I see it. I didn’t think they were any grounds to be charged.”

The final witness was introduced to Evans in a bar on his first visit to parliament, aged 21 or 22, in 2009.

In a more secluded area, Evans pulled a curtain around them, jurors were told.

“Then he sort of lent in to kiss me and I just sort of said: ‘No,’” he said. “My response was: ‘No, it’s fine, but we are not doing that.’”

Two years later, he traveled to Evans’ home and stayed over for a number of nights.

He told police: “I do not believe he has committed any offenses.”

The trial is expected to last up to five weeks.

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