Belfast Telegraph

Jackson and Olding trial: Judge explains reason jury visited scene of alleged rape at rugby player's home

By Ashleigh McDonald

The jury presiding in a trial involving two rugby internationals accused of raping a woman were taken to the scene of the alleged sex attack on Friday.

The nine men and three women were driven from the Laganside Court Complex by bus to Paddy Jackson's south Belfast home, to see for themselves where the 21-year old woman claimed she was subjected to a sex attack.

Jackson (26) and his team-mate Stuart Olding (24) are both standing trial at Belfast Crown Court, accused of raping the woman at the same time following a night out in the city in June 2016. Both men have denied the charge, while Jackson has been charged with, and denies, a further charge of sexual assault

As the trial came to the end of its second week, the jury were taken to Jackson's Oakleigh Park home.

Prior to the visit, they were told by Judge Patricia Smyth: "We have made arrangements for you to visit Mr Jackson's home. The purpose of this visit is simply so you can see the layout of his house, the size of his house, and the proximity of the rooms in the house."

After arriving at Jackson's home, the jury members were taken in two groups of six to his bedroom.

When they returned back to Laganside, Judge Smyth addressed them again to remind them not to carry out any research on the trial.

Telling the members "you are the only people who will hear all the evidence in this case", she urged them not to discuss proceedings with anyone.

Also appearing with Jackson and Olding are Blane McIlroy (26), from Royal Lodge Road in Belfast, who has been charged with exposing his genitals, and Rory Harrison (25) from Manse Road, who is facing charges of perverting the course of justice, and withholding information.

The trial is due to resume on Monday.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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