A WESTMINSTER worker thought “Oh God, he’s doing it to me now” after “drunk” MP Nigel Evans put his hand down the back of his trousers in a pub, a court heard yesterday.
The openly gay man said the MP, accused of a series of sex offences, had a “reputation” and at the time he dismissed the incident as “just Nigel being drunken Nigel”, Preston Crown Court heard.
Evans used his “powerful” political influence to sexually take advantage of seven young men, it is alleged.
The former deputy speaker of the House of Commons, 56, faces nine charges in all, dating from 2002 to 1 April last year. The MP for Ribble Valley, in Lancashire, denies two counts of indecent assault, six of sexual assault and one of rape.
Evans, who had the “ability to make or break” careers, assaulted alleged victims in his home, House of Commons bars and his office in the Palace of Westminster, it is claimed.
The first complainant yesterday told the jury he was out with friends one night in 2002 when Evans, then the shadow secretary of state for Wales, indecently assaulted him by putting his hand down his trousers at a pub called the Sanctuary on Greek Street in Soho, London.
“It was just a normal going out having fun and I thought, ‘Oh God, he’s doing it to me now’,” the witness said. “He had definitely been drinking, he was acting very drunk and I do remember he seemed to sober up quite quickly.”
The MP was arrested on 4 May last year after allegedly raping another young man and eventually charged with nine sex offences last September.
He denies all the allegations.
The witness said: “He was quite persistent and I was annoyed but at the same time he was my friend, and I certainly forgave him for it because he was drunk. I have almost forgotten it… it was one of those things.”
He confirmed he had socialised with Evans on a number of occasions since but had never discussed the matter.
The court heard that no formal complaint was made by the witness, either to the whips or the House of Commons.
Asked if he felt he had been abused by Evans, the witness told the barrister: “Abused is rather strong. It was a liberty.”
The next witness, said to have been indecently assaulted in 2003, gave his account of Evans allegedly twice putting his hand down his trousers at that year’s Conservative Party conference.
But the then Tory party worker told the jury he did not consider it to be a criminal sexual assault.
He said it was more the behaviour of “a drunken lech”.
The thought of complaining to the police at the time had never occurred to him, he said.
The events were said to have taken place between midnight and 3am in the Number 10 conference bar at the Imperial Hotel in Blackpool in October 2003.
Asked about Evans’s state, he replied: “He was clearly very, very heavily intoxicated. Quite visibly so.”
The witness recalled speaking to a member of the Conservative Party board about the incident, who went over and moved Evans to a different group.
But within five minutes a “carbon copy” of the incident took place as Evans “did the exact same thing again”, he said.
At the next shadow cabinet reshuffle a month later, Evans was removed from his post as shadow Wales secretary, the court has heard.