Monday 22 October 2018

Jackson 'paid enormous price despite resounding acquittal'

Paddy Jackson in Belfast. He is seeking to retrieve the money he paid out in legal fees. Photo: Alan Lewis/Photopress
Paddy Jackson in Belfast. He is seeking to retrieve the money he paid out in legal fees. Photo: Alan Lewis/Photopress

Eimear Cotter

An application to cover Paddy Jackson's legal fees has been adjourned for consideration by a judge in Belfast.

Mr Jackson (26) was acquitted of rape and sexual assault in March following a marathon nine-week trial.

Three other co-defendants - including Mr Jackson's Ireland and Ulster Rugby teammate Stuart Olding (25) - were also acquitted on charges they faced arising from a party in Mr Jackson's Belfast home in June 2016.

Yesterday, Mr Jackson's lawyer, Brendan Kelly QC, told Belfast Crown Court his client had "paid an enormous price for the events of that evening".

Mr Jackson privately funded his defence, and his legal bill - which allegedly amounted to more than €115,000 - has already been settled.

However, he was seeking to retrieve this money and had made an application to have the costs covered by the Public Prosecution Service.

Judge Patricia Smyth said she was reserving her decision in this matter. She said a decision would "not be soon" due to pressures of work.

In his submission, Mr Kelly said that, during the trial, those advising Mr Jackson had informed him his income and capital assets was such that he was "not entitled to legal aid" and would "not qualify for legal aid".

He said that all he was asking the court to do was to "restore the defendant through funding to the status quo".

Mr Kelly said that Mr Jackson had "paid an enormous price for the events of that evening, despite what we would say was a resounding acquittal".

"He is without employment. He is without an offer of employment", Mr Kelly said.

He said Mr Jackson, assisted by his parents, had already paid his legal bill.

Mr Kelly said the trial had attracted an "unparalleled level of public interest" and the "uncontrolled intrusion into the fairness of the proceedings had led to Mr Jackson being further out of pocket".  

In his response, Toby Hedworth QC, said that unless Mr Jackson's legal team could show some mala fides, some fault or some inappropriate conduct on behalf of the prosecution, then he "should not be able to recover his costs from the PPS".

Mr Jackson was not in court, but his parents were in the public gallery.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News