Tuesday 21 August 2018

Rugby rape trial hears Olding's description of sex act with woman at party

Ireland and Ulster rugby player Stuart Olding Niall Carson/PA Wire
Ireland and Ulster rugby player Stuart Olding Niall Carson/PA Wire

Lesle-Anne McKeown

A woman at the centre of a rape trial involving two Irish international rugby players provided police with differing accounts about a sex act involving one of the accused, a court has heard.

During an interview on June 30 2016 - two days after the alleged attack - the complainant gave "contrasting answers" about an alleged oral rape by Stuart Olding, his barrister Frank O'Donoghue QC told Belfast Crown Court.

When asked how Olding's penis came to be in her mouth, the woman first told detectives: "I am not entirely sure, to be honest."

Later, during the same interview, her answer appeared to change, the barrister suggested.

Mr O'Donoghue added: "Her answer seems to change to 'I am really sure my head was forced down'."

He was cross-examining a Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) detective constable who had been monitoring the ABE (achieving best evidence) interview.

The officer was unable to interject with questions because he was not ABE trained at the time, it emerged.

The court also heard how Olding was arrested an hour after the complainant's interview concluded.

He had voluntarily attended Musgrave Street PSNI station in Belfast and was arrested, Mr O'Donoghue said.

While being questioned at the police station, Olding's south Belfast home was searched and clothing was retrieved - however not the outfit he had been wearing on the night of the alleged offence, the court was told.

Asking the detective about Olding's conduct during the interview, Mr O'Donoghue said: "Mr Olding was fully co-operative?"

The officer answered: "He was."

Probing further the lawyer added: "Is it fair to say that he had asserted during the course of the interviews very important facts relevant to the oral sex?

"For example he told you what he was wearing?

"He told you he was wearing a navy shirt? He told you he was wearing black jeans? He told you he was wearing black boxer underwear?

"He told you he was wearing brown shoes?"

The detective replied: "I could not remember specifics."

In his account to police, Olding said the complainant had performed oral sex.

His client had been very clear about what happened but insisted it was consensual, said Mr O'Donoghue.

"He accepted that primary fact, that it lasted for about five minutes," said Mr O'Donoghue.

"He did say that she asked them, Mr Jackson and Mr Olding, to go and get condoms?"

The officer said: "I recall that being mentioned."

Mr O'Donoghue said: "He said he ejaculated? He ejaculated but not in her mouth."

The barrister also suggested that, according to Olding, while performing oral sex, the woman had been on her knees and was bent over.

She had also taken off her own top, the barrister put it to the court.

"He ejaculated on his own stomach," said Mr O'Donoghue.

"He wiped himself with toilet roll, not in the bedroom but in an adjoining bathroom?"

The officer replied: "Yes."

The 12-person jury will have an opportunity to listen to the police interviews, the court was told.

Later the PSNI detective was asked about a statement taken from Dara Florence, a girl who walked into the room during the alleged rape.

Mr O'Donoghue said: "She described it as a threesome. She never described in any of that statement obvious forcing?"

The officer said: "No, she never."

When questioned about any obvious inconsistencies between the accounts provided by Ms Florence and Olding the officer added: "I believe Mr Olding had said that (the complainant) had her top off but had her trousers on and Dara had said she was entirely naked."

Paddy Jackson (26) from Oakleigh Park in Belfast, and his Ireland and Ulster teammate Stuart Olding, 24, from Ardenlee Street also in the city, deny raping the same woman at a house in south Belfast in June 2016.

Jackson denies a further charge of sexual assault.

Blane McIlroy (26) from Royal Lodge Road, Ballydollaghan, Belfast, denies exposure and Rory Harrison(25) from Manse Road, Belfast, denies perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

The case continues.

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