Saturday 23 June 2018

Rape trial of rugby players Stuart Olding and Paddy Jackson due to start today

Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding
Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding

Lesley-Anne McKeown

Two Ireland and Ulster rugby players are due to go on trial accused of rape.

Stuart Olding, 24, and Paddy Jackson, 26, are expected to appear before a judge at Belfast's Crown Court today.

Both Olding, of Ardenlee Street in Belfast, and Jackson, of Oakleigh Park in the city, are accused of raping the same woman at a property in south Belfast in June 2016.

Jackson also faces a further charge of indecent assault.

They have strenuously denied the charges.

Two other men have also been returned for trial on charges connected with the incident.

Blane McIlroy, 26, of Royal Lodge Road, Ballydollaghan, Belfast, is accused of one count of exposure.

Rory Harrison, 25, of Manse Road, Belfast, is charged with perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

All four have pleaded not guilty and are on bail.

The high-profile case, which could last up to five weeks, is being heard by Judge Patricia Smyth.

Fly-half Jackson has been capped for Ireland 25 times and centre Olding has played four times. They are established stars for Ulster Rugby.

The Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby have said they will not play again until court proceedings conclude.

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