Ched Evans has won his appeal against his conviction for raping a 19-year-old woman – but must face a retrial.
The decision was announced on Thursday following appeal proceedings last month.
Evans was present in the packed London courtroom with girlfriend Natasha Massey by his side to hear the result of his conviction challenge.
Lady Justice Hallett, Mr Justice Flaux and Sir David Maddison had heard submissions over two days from Kieran Vaughan QC, for Evans, and from Eleanor Laws QC, for the Crown.
Hallett, announcing the court’s decision, said the judges had heard “fresh evidence” during the appeal hearing on March 22 and 23.
She said: “In summary, we have concluded that we must allow the appeal and that it is in the interests of justice to order a retrial.”
The court quashed Evans’ conviction and declared: “The appellant will be retried on the allegation of rape.”
Evans, now 27, was convicted in April 2012. He was found guilty at Caernarfon Crown Court of raping the woman at a hotel in Rhyl, north Wales.
His conviction was referred to the Court of Appeal for review by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), which investigates possible miscarriages of justice.
A statement on behalf of Evans was read outside of court by his lawyer Shaun Draycott.
Draycott said: “Ched Evans is extremely grateful that the Court of Appeal has ruled that his conviction for rape was unsafe and should be quashed
“He wants to thanks his lawyers, Kieran Vaughan QC and David Emanuel of Garden Court Chambers, London and Shaun Draycott of Draycott Browne Solicitors, Manchester, for their hard work and commitment in relation to the CCRC application and the appeal, as well as his partner Natasha, their families and friends and all those members of the public who have offered him support throughout.
“No further statement will be made as it is acknowledged by Mr Evans that the legal process has not reached a final conclusion and there will be further hearings of significance on dates to be fixed in due course.”