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Thursday, 20 September, 2001, 21:02 GMT 22:02 UK
No action over Prescott punch
prescott in fracas
The scuffle began after an egg was thrown
John Prescott will not face any charges over a scuffle during the general election campaign, according to the Crown Prosecution Service.

North Wales Police launched an investigation after the deputy prime minister punched a farm worker on the jaw with a swinging left hook.

Craig Evans - taking part in a countryside protest - had thrown an egg at Mr Prescott from close range as he walked into an election meeting in Rhyl on 16 May.

But following a careful review of the evidence and video material presented by investigators, the CPS concluded there was no realistic prospect of a conviction for reasons of self defence.

The authorities have now made their decision and I have no further comment to make

Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott

The CPS also said that prosecuting Mr Evans , 29, who lives with his partner at Llandyrnog, near Denbigh, would serve no useful purpose because of the minor nature of the incident.

Mr Evans was arrested at the scene and almost instantly released while detectives travelled to Hull a few days later to interview Mr Prescott.

Statements were also taken from witnesses in numerous parts of the country.

Mr Prescott said: "The authorities have now made their decision and I have no further comment to make."

The solicitor acting for Mr Evans said his client was relieved the matter had come to an end.

Following the CPS announcement, Mr Evans said: "I'm just glad this is all over and finished.

Craig Evans and girlfriend Gwen Edwards
Craig Evans: "Happy"
"I always believed it was always going to turn out like this."

His partner Gwen Edwards added: "We want to be left alone at the moment.

"It has all been very stressful and just too much for us really."

Mr Evans said after the event that he had been protesting about the lack of government support for farmers and farm workers suffering the effects of the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

Mr Prescott has always insisted that he was acting in self-defence after being hit in the head with the egg.

Following the incident, he said it had been "frightening and regrettable".

But the deputy prime minister later joked: "I wish I had ducked a bit quicker at Rhyl. Mind you, I think the other guy thinks that as well."

The BBC's John Pienaar
"[Prescott] is deeply relieved"

Prescott fracas
Did deputy PM get off lightly?
See also:

10 Sep 01 | Wales
Police report on Prescott punch
18 May 01 | Vote2001
Police quiz Prescott
17 May 01 | Vote2001
Prescott 'regrets' blow
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