POLITICS

Nigel Evans, Former Deputy Commons Speaker, Faces Sex Offences Trial

10/03/2014 09:48 GMT | Updated 10/03/2014 09:59 GMT
Dave Thompson/PA Wire
MP Nigel Evans arrives for a preliminary hearing at Preston Crown Court, he is accused of sex offences against seven men.

Nigel Evans, the former deputy speaker of the House of Commons, will go on trial today accused of sexual offences against seven men.

Evans, the MP for Ribble Valley in Lancashire, will stand in the dock to face a jury at Preston Crown Court for a trial scheduled to last around four weeks.

The 56-year-old faces nine charges in all, dating from 2002 to April 1, last year.

He denies two counts of indecent assault, six of sexual assault and one of rape.

The indecent assaults are alleged to have been committed between January 1 2002 and January 1 2004; the sexual assaults - said to be touching without consent - between January 1 2009 and April 1 last year; and the rape between March 29 and April 1 last year.

None of the seven alleged victims, all adult males, can be named, as the law bans the identification of complainants of sexual offences.

Evans resigned as Commons deputy speaker after he was charged on September 10 last year.

The Swansea-born MP, who lives in Pendleton, Lancashire, was one of three deputy speakers elected in a secret ballot of MPs in 2010.

He was a vice-chairman of the Conservative Party from 1999 to 2001.

As deputy speaker, he sat as an independent MP but he will not take the Conservative whip and will sit as an independent MP for his constituency.

His trial, presided over by Mr Justice King, is scheduled to begin later today.