Sunday 22 September 2019

Semen of Ulster rugby star Olding found on alleged victim's clothes

Expert medical witness tells rape trial that most victims of sexual assaults 'let it happen'

Stuart Olding (24) denies the rape charge. The trial heard yesterday his semen was found on the alleged victim’s clothing
Stuart Olding (24) denies the rape charge. The trial heard yesterday his semen was found on the alleged victim’s clothing
Ireland and Ulster rugby player Paddy Jackson. Picture: PA

Cate McCurry

Semen containing the DNA of Ulster and Ireland rugby player Stuart Olding was found on the clothes of a woman he is accused of raping, a court has heard.

Samples taken from the young woman's clothes she wore on the night of the alleged attack were examined by a senior forensic scientist.

Giving evidence in court, the Forensic Service officer confirmed that traces of Mr Olding's semen were found on the complainant's white jeans, underwear and black sequins top.

Mr Olding (24) and his teammate Paddy Jackson (26) deny rape.

Mr Jackson denies a further charge of sexual assault.

Two other men are also on trial on charges connected to the same alleged incident.

Blane McIlroy (26) is charged with exposure and Rory Harrison (25) is charged with perverting the course of justice and withholding information. Both deny all charges.

Meanwhile, a leading medical expert who has vast experience in rape and sexual assault cases told the court that most victims of sexual assaults allow it to happen.

Dr Janet Hall, who was giving evidence on behalf of the defence, was asked by crown prosecution Toby Hedworth QC whether, through her research and experience, most victims of sexual assaults resist or do they "let it happen".

She told the court that "overwhelming evidence" shows they allow it to happen.

Dr Hall raised concerns about blood and a laceration on the vaginal wall that was found 14 hours after the alleged attack.

She said she looked at the video of the examination of the complainant, who was aged 19 at the time, as well as notes provided by the doctor who carried out the examination at a sexual assault centre in Co Antrim.

The examining doctor found a laceration measuring 2-3cm which he found had been caused by blunt forced trauma.

Dr Hall said that although blood could be seen in the recordings, there was no indication of where the blood was coming from and "no mention of whether menstrual flow was observed".

She said she has conducted these examinations "many times" and when asked by Mr Jackson's lawyer, Brendan Kelly QC, of the purpose of such recordings, she said it provided a visual confirmation of any findings.

"We all know that a picture tells the whole story more than any words. If you see it in front of you, you know what you are looking at," she said.

Speaking about the video, the doctor added: "It did not show me the laceration and I was confused where the laceration was."

She told the court that it "was just a pool of blood" and there was no note to explain whether or not the blood was of menstrual flow.

"It didn't show me where the laceration was, just where the blood was," she added.

When discussing injuries in rape and sexual offences, the doctor said that tears to the vaginal wall are the "least common of injuries".

She said: "If this injury was caused by a penis which was used by excess force, then I would have expected outer structures to be injured.

"It's hard to believe an injury happened inside and not to the protecting structures outside, " she added.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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