Three men who prosecutors say were sexually assaulted by MP Nigel Evans did not consider themselves victims of any offence, a jury has heard.
None of them wanted to make a complaint about the former Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons to the police, who in each of their cases contacted them.
One said he forgave the Ribble Valley MPs alleged advances and said he had not expected “in a million years” to find himself in court giving evidence. He compared Evans’ alleged actions more than a decade ago to “a drunken 14-year-old-old at a disco”.
The alleged victim went on to e-mail his support to the former Tory MP when he was initially arrested last year on an allegation of rape and told him: “Stay strong.”
Another told the court of how he too could not believe he was in the witness box and told detectives he did not want Evans to be charged as he did not think there were “any grounds” to do so.
Evans , 56, is on trial at Preston Crown Court over claims he used his “powerful” political influence to take sexual advantage of seven young men.
He denies one rape, two indecent assaults and six sexual assaults said to have taken place on various dates between 2002 and last year.
It was said he had the “ability to make or break” careers and assaulted the alleged victims in his home, House of Commons bars and his office in the Palace of Westminster.
The first three of the seven alleged victims gave their evidence yesterday.
A gay Westminster worker spoke of how Evans put his hand down his trousers in a London Soho bar in early 2003 but dismissed the incident as “just Nigel being drunken Nigel”.
He said it was an “open secret” at Westminster that Evans, the then Conservative shadow secretary of state for Wales, was gay.
He felt Evans’s fingers down the back of his trousers and because of his reputation he thought: “Oh God! He’s doing it to me now!”, the court heard. The witness said he walked away to avoid a scene but when he did it again he told a female friend: “I’m going to punch him.”
He continued: “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.”
He said he did not see himself as a victim of crime and confirmed the police contacted him last July and he went on to make a statement.
The man’s female friend told the jury of her surprise when police contacted her about the incident. She told detectives: “It appeared to me like a cackhanded way of making a pass.”
The next witness, who is 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 in Blackpool.
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 witness said he was stood next to a tabloid journalist when a “clearly heavily intoxicated” Evans put his hand in his trousers on the waist line and to the small of his back before he attempted to manoeuvre it to his front, he said.
Evans was moved on after the witness complained to a Conservative Party Board official but he returned within five minutes and allegedly repeated the incident.
He said he had not seen it as a police matter.
A third man said Evans tried to kiss him in a corridor of a House of Commons bar in 2009, when he was aged 21 or 22.
He said: “He sort of lent in to kiss me and I just sort of said, ‘No!’ and sort of pushed to sort of stop and then his response to that was, ‘Oh no, it’s Ok’.
“My response was, ‘No, it’s fine, but we are not doing that’.”