Thursday 13 December 2018

Woman at centre of rape trial accused of 'creating narrative' to serve her case, court told

Blane McIlroy arrives at Belfast Crown Court where he is on trial accused of one count of exposure, in connection with an incident in which two Ireland and Ulster rugby stars are accused of raping a woman at a property in south Belfast in June 2016. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Blane McIlroy arrives at Belfast Crown Court where he is on trial accused of one count of exposure, in connection with an incident in which two Ireland and Ulster rugby stars are accused of raping a woman at a property in south Belfast in June 2016. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Lesley-Anne McKeown and Ashleigh McDonald

A woman at the centre of a rape trial involving two Ireland and Ulster rugby players has created a story to suit her case, a court has heard.

The complainant was being cross-examined by a barrister for Blane McIlroy, who is accused of exposure.

The lawyer also suggested to Belfast Crown Court that the woman's memory of events was fractured, frayed and ragged.

Arthur Harvey QC said: "You have a capacity to start off with a basic fact such as 'I was in the taxi' to create a narrative which you believe personally serves the case that you are seeking to make?"

26-year-old McIlroy, from Royal Lodge Road, Ballydollaghan, Belfast, denies the single charge against him.

During further questioning, the complainant, who was in the witness box for a seventh separate day, admitted her recollection of the night was in parts "hazy".

Mr Harvey said: "There's not a narrative which is clear and precise."

She said: "I would not use the words fractured or frayed.

"There are moments that are slightly hazy."

No one could be expected to remember everything from a night out, she told the court.

Three other men are also charged in connection with the incident in June 2016.

Twenty-six-year-old Paddy Jackson, from Oakleigh Park in Belfast, and his Ulster and Ireland team mate Stuart Olding, 24, from Ardenlee Street also in the city, deny raping the same woman.

Jackson denies a further charge of sexual assault.

Rory Harrison, 25, from Manse Road, Belfast, also denies perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

The trial has previously heard the alleged attack happened at an after-party in Jackson's home following a night in the VIP area of a Belfast club.

Mr Harvey also questioned the woman about texts she sent to her friends in the aftermath of the alleged rape.

In one text, she told a friend that the three girls at the party were displaying slutty behaviour. She has already given evidence that she felt the "mood shifted" at the party when McIllory started pulling the girls onto his knee and taking selfies.

When she told Mr Harvey that sitting on boys knees and taking selfies was "not something I was interested in", he asked her: "Being upstairs in a bedroom indicates behaviour with is more proper than three girls taking selfies. Is that what you are saying?"

She replied: "Those are not my words, they are yours."

When the barrister asked again "is that what you are saying?", she responded "I am saying I didn't want to take photographs sitting on those guys knees."

Mr Harvey then said "those photographs are of three girls saying 'look at me', it's nothing more than that, isn't that right?" She replied "yes."

The case continues.

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