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Lawyers urged to 'get together' over cases of former rugby star and ex-wife

By Paul Higgins

Published 19/10/2016

Charged: Olivia Danielli has been accused of damaging Simon Danielli’s car, while he is accused of assaulting her
Charged: Olivia Danielli has been accused of damaging Simon Danielli’s car, while he is accused of assaulting her

A judge has advised the lawyers for a retired Ulster rugby player and his ex-wife, to "get together" with public prosecutors and discuss how the former couple's cases against each other will proceed.

Simon Danielli (37) and 29-year-old Olivia Danielli, have made accusations and counter accusations against each other, leading to the rugby man being charged with assaulting Mrs Danielli and her friend, and damaging her phone.

Mrs Danielli is charged with causing criminal damage to his Jaguar XF car.

Both cases were listed at Newtownards Magistrates' Court yesterday, when it was expected District Judge Mark Hamill would set dates for their respective trials.

However, Mr Danielli's defence solicitor, Dermot Bowes, asked for his case to be adjourned for two weeks.

The lawyer told the court that was to allow time for the senior QC to consider lodging an abuse of process application.

If such an application were to be granted by the judge, that would result in the case against him being dismissed, on the grounds it would be unfair to put him on trial.

Mr Danielli, from The Coaches in Holywood, is charged with two counts of common assault against Mrs Danielli, causing criminal damage to her iPhone, and also a further allegation of common assault, against a Michael Browne on March 11 last year.

Mrs Danielli, with an address at Marino Station Road, also in Holywood, faces a count of criminal damage, alleging that she damaged, or destroyed, her husband's Jaguar XF car on August 9 last year.

At one stage, Mrs Danielli had also been accused of assaulting the 6ft 2ins ex-international winger, but that charge was dropped by the prosecution.

Yesterday, Judge Hamill repeated to Mr Bowes and to Conan Wray, appearing for Mrs Danielli, that he would deal with the trials "chronologically".

He added, however, that there was a "difficulty" in approaching the cases, given the PPS have brought prosecutions against both Mr and Mrs Danielli.

"It is difficult to see how they will say, 'We will stand him as a witness of truth' and then on the other hand, stand her as a witness of truth," said the judge.

"Witness of truth one day and liar the next... it's hard to ride several horses in the race."

Judge Hamill told the lawyers he had a suggestion for them all to get together "and talk about a binding over [order] as a potential outcome."

Ex-Bath, Borders and Ulster winger, Mr Danielli, made 32 appearances for Scotland and 78 for Ulster, before retiring in 2012 due to a back injury.

His estranged wife, Olivia Danielli (nee Jennings), is the daughter of one of Northern Ireland's wealthiest men, property developer Seamus Jennings, who in 2012 was said to be worth £67m.

A former model, the 29-year-old mum-of-three has previously worked for Alison Clarke's prestigious agency, ACA Models.

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