London, July 1: Ex-cricketer Alex Hepburn has lost his appeal challenging the charges of rape conviction against him. Hepburn, an Australian-born cricketer who played for Worcestershire, had challenged at the Court of Appeal last month. The 24-year-old was jailed for five years for raping a woman in a teammate's flat in 2017.
In a judgment handed down on Tuesday (June 30), three senior judges, including the Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett, dismissed the appeal by stating that "the conviction is not unsafe."
The cricketer's lawyer David Emanuel had challenged the conviction and argued that the texts detailing a sexual conquest "game" should not have been used as evidence at his trial.
Emanuel after the Court of Appeal's decision said that nowhere in the messages was there any talk of sex against one's will.
"I accept it would be different if there was talk of sex against will, or trickery to gain a point, or taking a chance, but there's nothing like that in the messages," he told the judges.
"They are too far removed as to be able to be to do with the facts of the alleged offence."
During the trial prosecutors had said that Hepburn and one of his teammates engaged themselves in a contest to sleep with most number of women, leading to the rape of a woman in his flat in April 2017.
Judge Jim Tindal, jailing Hepburn at Hereford Crown Court, said: "You probably thought it was laddish behaviour at the time. In truth it was foul sexism. It demeaned women and trivialised rape -- a word you personally threw around lightly. Only now do you realise how serious rape is."
Hepburn's lawyer the cricketer had expressed remorse. The woman victim had described her ordeal as "evil." The woman had also said she had consensual sex with Hepburn's friend and teammate Joe Clarke in his flat before the latter was passed out due to excessive drinking and Hepburn used the chance to molest her.