Judge says Best was 'directed' to attend trial
Ireland rugby captain Rory Best attended the rape trial of Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding because he was "directed" to by a senior lawyer, a court heard yesterday.
The Ulster player attended the Belfast Crown Court trial last Wednesday and attracted attention in both mainstream and social media when he was seen in the public gallery.
Before the start of yesterday's hearing, Judge Patricia Smyth addressed reports of his attendance. She said: "You may have been aware of press coverage or coverage of some nature about the appearance of Mr Rory Best, who I understand is the captain of the Irish rugby team.
"I want to make it absolutely clear to you and clear to the public the only reason Mr Rory Best was in this court last week was because he was directed to be here by senior counsel.
"That's the only reason he was here and as a jury you should know that."
Jackson (26) and Olding (24) deny raping a woman in Belfast in June 2016.