Wednesday 18 September 2019

Nicola Anderson: Consent at the heart of testimony as alleged victim gives evidence

Paddy Jackson arrives at Belfast Crown Court. Photo: PA
Paddy Jackson arrives at Belfast Crown Court. Photo: PA
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

It was the most difficult and most painfully forensic day in the cross-examination so far.

At its heart lay the crucial issue of consent - had it ever existed in the contact between Irish international Paddy Jackson and the young woman at the centre of these rape claims?

Brendan Kelly, Mr Jackson's barrister, suggested that it had.

She had been "fixated" on the rugby player, had been "desperate" to attend his party and had been "staring at him" all night, and followed him into the kitchen several times, he put it to her.

At times throughout the day, the young woman became emotional as she insisted that she had never consented to what she claims occurred that night.

She had kissed Mr Jackson consensually, she agreed, but that was where it ended.

Consensual kissing was not consent for anything else, she said.

The barrister put it to her that she had been "desperate" to join the Northern Ireland footballers at their party after Ollies nightclub, but she was not invited and so joined Paddy Jackson's group.

That was not how she remembered it, she answered.

Why hadn't she texted Paddy Jackson's address to her friend if she had wanted her to come to the party, asked Mr Kelly, given that she had sent a text saying only she was "at Paddy Jackson's house"?

"She didn't reply immediately," the girl said.

Mr Kelly said the friend had replied 16 minutes later, at 3.20am, saying "ha ha", asking her what this meant.

"I'm not entirely sure. I don't take 'ha ha' to actually mean anything," she told him.

Mr Kelly said the friend had then asked "how" and "why". "She didn't get much of a reply to that text, did she?" he asked, saying: "You didn't respond, did you?"

"I was obviously chatting to someone," the young woman replied.

He put it to her that she had "no interest" in partying with her friends but her interests had "suddenly focused on Paddy Jackson that morning".

This was unfair, she told him.

Back at the after-party at Mr Jackson's house, he said she had been dancing.

"You had music, you had drink if you wanted it, you had company if you wanted it - so what was wrong with that party?" he asked her.

"Yes, I thought there'd be a lot more people there," she told him, adding: "It wasn't the sort of after-party I was used to."

"So why not ring your friends and tell them to come?" he queried.

"I didn't think it was appropriate because it wasn't my house," she replied.

"So there was nothing wrong with the party," Mr Kelly stated.

It emerged that she was unaware that a brother of Mr Jackson and his fiancée were sleeping at the top of the house and had asked that the noise be kept down because it was a Monday night and "because of the neighbours".

"I wasn't even aware of anyone else in the house," she said.

She told Mr Kelly that she had felt "pretty impartial, to be honest," at being at the after-party at the rugby player's house.

"When were you attracted to Paddy Jackson?" he asked a short time later.

"I was never attracted to Patrick Jackson, yes I kissed him but that was instigated by Patrick Jackson," she said, adding: "You don't have to be attracted to someone to not turn away from a kiss."

But did this not indicate attraction, queried Mr Kelly.

"I mean you can kiss someone and be attracted to them, likewise you can kiss someone and not be attracted to them," she told him.

"Nothing was shown by you to show you were not consenting," he said of the alleged assault. The young woman disagreed.

Irish Independent

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