Belfast Telegraph

Charges considered over naming of woman in rugby rape trial

Paddy Jackson
Paddy Jackson
Stuart Olding
Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

Prosecutors may bring charges against two people who named a woman who claimed she had been raped by two former Ulster Rugby players.

After a high profile nine-week trial earlier this year, Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding were both cleared of raping the same woman.

Naming a complainant in a rape trial remains a criminal offence in Northern Ireland, but several people circulated her identity on social media during the trial.

DUP MP Ian Paisley raised the matter at the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee yesterday, noting that retired judge Sir John Gillen had been asked to review rape and sex crime trials.

PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton said he could be persuaded either way on whether or not both the accused and accuser should remain anonymous in rape trials. "I'm open to it but I'm not entirely convinced, and I think having somebody of (Sir John's) standing, bringing his balanced view would be welcomed.

"This is a huge balancing act and it would be a significant change in our criminal justice practice."

Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin noted how "we did have the spectacle of tourists from the Republic of Ireland coming up for the day to watch the trial". He added: "That does seem bizarre and strikes me as inappropriate whilst absolutely acknowledging ... transparency is very important."

In a statement the PSNI said: "There is an ongoing police investigation and two people have been interviewed in relation to an offence under section five of the Sexual Offences Amendment Act 1992.

"Two files have been forwarded to the Public Prosecution Service for consideration."

Belfast Telegraph


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