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News Round-Up Week Ending 4.3.16

(Posted on 04/03/16)


Footballer Gets Date for Appeal:

Former Sheffield United player Ched Evans is to have his rape conviction appeal heard on March 22nd.

Convicted of rape in 2012 and sentenced to five years’ incarceration, Evans was released in 2014 and last year had his case referred to the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission with fresh evidence.

Although there is no Football Association rule preventing convicted criminals from playing, Evans’ attempts to restart his career with Oldham Athletic and his former club collapsed in the face of public outcry.

Former Sunderland player Adam Johnson, convicted this week of sexual activity with a child, is equally unlikely to ever play professionally again. The club is under pressure to explain why Johnson continued to play after admitting to kissing a 15-year-old fan and sending her over 800 messages, some of them sexually explicit.

“For a year Johnson had been rubbishing these claims and giving tacit approval to his fans to drag her through the mud,” said Gabrielle Shaw of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (Napac). “That’s the thing to focus on – the trouble and torment of his victim.”

A statement from the Professional Footballers' Association read: "As the players' union, we are very conscious of the role and responsibility of our members and we work hard to ensure they receive relevant information and important guidance regarding appropriate standards of conduct.

“Situations such as this, unfortunately, demonstrate that this is a vital area for our focus and that there is still much work to do.”

“Football is not always responsible for the actions of individual people,” commented Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger. “But football can do more.”

Restorative Justice

Tonight: Meeting My Enemy aired on ITV on Thursday. Filmed over two years, the documentary followed the process of David and Joan Hodgkinson’s meeting with their son’s killer.

In July 2011 the Hodgkinson family and friends went to the Test Match at Trent Bridge, all in fancy dress. After the match, they headed into Nottingham City Centre.

At the end of the night, the group went to retrieve their costumes from a group who had been messing about with them. One youth ran and punched James, who fell, cracking his skull on the kerb. He died nine days later in hospital.

In the programme, Nicola Bancroft, a facilitator with Remedi [], worked with Jacob Dunne and James’ parents over two and a half years, to help them through the process of Restorative Justice.

“It’s about enabling victims of crime the opportunity to ask questions and put across the full human impact of the offence to the person responsible,” Ms Bancroft explained. “For those people that are involved it’s very much a personal experience. You have to take everybody through it at their own individual time.”