Thursday 22 February 2018

Law Society president regrets controversy over Ched Evans rape case blog - but stands by his points

Ched Evans was jailed, but was cleared in a retrial. Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
Ched Evans was jailed, but was cleared in a retrial. Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The new president of the Law Society has said he regrets the furore caused by a controversial blog he wrote about the rape case involving professional soccer player Ched Evans.

Stuart Gilhooly said the posting could have been written differently, but that he stood over the main points made in the article.

Mr Gilhooly, solicitor for the Professional Footballers' Association of Ireland (PFAI), endured a storm of criticism, both in Ireland and the UK, over the posting on the PFAI's website in November 2014.

At the time Mr Evans, a former Wales international, had just been released from prison having been jailed for raping a young woman two years previously. Debate was raging over whether he should be allowed to play soccer again.

In his blog, Mr Gilhooly said Mr Evans' crime was "at the bottom end" and that he had been "victimised".

Mr Evans' conviction was overturned last month following a retrial. Asked about the controversy, Mr Gilhooly said: "I regret that it happened. If I was writing it again, I would probably write it in a different way.

"Ultimately my point was this guy deserved a second chance and also that there was a chance he mightn't actually be guilty. I had looked at this and it didn't look to me like a cast-iron case.

"I wrote it in a way that perhaps annoyed people, and I understand that."

Irish Independent

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