Sunday 23 September 2018

Kiss was 'not indicative of consent for anything else', alleged victim tells court in rugby rape trial

Ireland and Ulster rugby player Paddy Jackson arrives at Belfast Crown Court. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Ireland and Ulster rugby player Paddy Jackson arrives at Belfast Crown Court. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Lesley-Anne McKeown

The case of two rugby players accused of raping the same woman has heard continuing evidence from the complainant.

Paddy Jackson, from Oakleigh Park in Belfast, and Stuart Olding, from Ardenlee Street in the city, deny raping the same woman at a house in south Belfast in June 2016.

Ireland and Ulster rugby player Stuart Olding arrives at Belfast Crown Court, Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Ireland and Ulster rugby player Stuart Olding arrives at Belfast Crown Court, Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Jackson denies a further charge of sexual assault.

Two other men have also been returned for trial on charges connected with the same incident alleged to have happened at an after-party following an evening at a Belfast nightclub on June 28, 2016.

Blane McIlroy (26) from Royal Lodge Road, Ballydollaghan, Belfast, has pleaded not guilty to one count of exposure, while Rory Harrison (25) from Manse Road, Belfast denies perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

The trial, which is in its sixth day, is continuing to hear evidence from the complainant in the case.

Blaine McIlroy
Blaine McIlroy
Rory Harrison

The complainant was quizzed about what happened outside the Belfast nightclub and how she came to be back at Jackson's house.

Brendan Kelly QC, representing Jackson, said: "Is not the truth of what happened, as far as outside Ollies is concerned, you were desperate to join the footballers at their party?

"When that invitation was not forthcoming, what you saw was Paddy Jackson.

"You waited some time and joined his group, his party."

She had not been invited, Mr Kelly put to the court.

The woman responded: "That's not how I remember it."

The complainant was further asked how she felt about Jackson.

Mr Kelly said: "You had got back to Paddy Jackson's. Did that make you sad or did that make you happy?"

The woman answered: "Pretty impartial to be honest."

The court also heard about a consensual kiss which happened in a bedroom of Jackson's home.

When asked by his defence lawyer when she had become attracted to Jackson, she added: "I was never attracted to Patrick Jackson.

"Yes, I kissed him but that was instigated by Patrick Jackson.

"You do not have to be attracted to someone to not turn away a kiss."

She admitted her recollection was in part "hazy".

When probed further about consent for the kiss, the woman responded: "Yes it was but that's not indicative of consent for anything else."

Earlier the court heard Ireland rugby captain Rory Best was instructed to attend the rape trial of two international teammates by senior counsel.

The jury of nine men and three women heard he had been asked by a senior barrister to attend the hearing at Belfast Crown Court last week.

Judge Patricia Smyth said: "The only reason that Mr Rory Best was in this courtroom was because he was directed to be here by senior counsel.

"That's the reason he was here. That's the only reason. I think you should know that."

The judge referenced press coverage of Mr Best's attendance.

She said: "You may have been aware of press coverage about the attendance at this trial of Mr Rory Best."

Judge Smyth added that it may have been "hard" not to be aware of the coverage.

Press Association

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