Belfast Telegraph

Ireland rugby stars face court on rape charges

Two Ireland and Ulster rugby stars accused of rape have arrived at court for a hearing that will determine whether their case should proceed to trial.

The committal hearing in Belfast is the first occasion Paddy Jackson, 25, and Stuart Olding, 24, are required to attend court proceedings since they were charged.

Their lawyers are expected to urge a district judge at Belfast's Laganside courts to throw the case out.

He judge will hear prosecution and defence submissions before deciding whether the available evidence is strong enough to return the pair for Crown Court trial.

Both men deny all allegations against them.

They are accused of raping the same woman at a property in south Belfast in June last year.

Olding, of Ardenlee Street, Belfast, is charged with two counts of rape.

Jackson, from Oakleigh Park, Belfast, is accused of one count of rape and one of sexual assault.

Fly-half Jackson has been capped for Ireland 25 times and centre Olding has played four times. They are established stars for Ulster Rugby.

The Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby have said they will not play again until court proceedings conclude.

Two other men also face charges connected with the incident.

Blane McIlroy, 25, from Royal Lodge Road, Ballydollaghan, Belfast, is accused of one count of exposure.

Rory Harrison, 25, from Manse Road, Belfast, is charged with perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

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