- Associated Press - Thursday, April 21, 2016

LONDON (AP) - A British court overturned the rape conviction of former Premier League player Ched Evans on Thursday and ordered a new trial.

Evans, a former Sheffield United and Wales striker, was in the packed London courtroom with his girlfriend when the verdict was read out by the Court of Appeal.

Evans was convicted in April 2012 of raping a 19-year-old woman at a hotel in Rhyl, north Wales. He was released from prison last year after serving half of his five-year sentence.

The 27-year-old Evans had always maintained his innocence and took his case to the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

Justice Heather Hallett said the judges heard “fresh evidence” during a two-day appeal hearing last month.

“In summary, we have concluded that we must allow the appeal and that it is in the interests of justice to order a retrial,” she said.

The judge said a fresh indictment “must be served” and Evans “must be re-arraigned on that fresh indictment within two months.” He was placed on unconditional bail.

After the ruling, Evans left the Royal Courts of Justice hand-in-hand with his girlfriend to catch a taxi.

His lawyer said Evans was “extremely grateful” to the judges for throwing out his conviction.


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