A review of Ched Evans’ rape conviction is to start within weeks.
The Criminal Cases Review Commission has agreed to ‘prioritise’ the ex-Sheffield United striker’s case.
Evans, aged 25, was jailed for five years for raping a woman in a hotel in Rhyl, north Wales, in 2011.
He was released in October, mid-way through his sentence, still maintaining his innocence.
A Criminal Cases Review Commission spokesman said: The Commission received an application from Mr Evans and his legal team in July. After an initial review of the case we decided that we would need to conduct further detailed investigations to establish what merit there may or may not be in the submissions made.
“Initially we expected there to be a significant wait before that investigation would begin because Mr Evans’ imminent release meant that his case would be behind those of other CCRC applicants who remain in custody.
“However, we recently received a request to prioritise Mr Evans’ case. We considered that request in line with our published policy on prioritisation, and in relation to the facts of the case and the issues raised in Mr Evans’ application to us. We have agreed to prioritise the case and now expect our substantive investigation to begin within the next few weeks.
“The decision to prioritise the case does not in any way represent a judgment by the Commission as to the merits of the application to us in this case or its chances of being referred for appeal.”