Belfast Telegraph

Paddy Jackson 'disappointed' at not being told next day about rape claim from alleged victim, court hears

By Cate McCurry

Ulster rugby star Paddy Jackson said he was "disappointed" his friends didn't tell him about a text message from a woman who claims she was raped by him.

The 26-year-old, who denies forcing the young woman to have sex with him, rejected claims he was "grandstanding about what a fabulous night it had been" in a series of text messages hours after the alleged attack.

Jackson, from Oakleigh Park, is currently on trial at Belfast Crown Court, charged with raping and sexually assaulting a woman in his bedroom following a night out in June 2016.

His friend and teammate Stuart Olding (24) from Ardenlee Street, Belfast, denies raping the same woman.

Blane McIlroy (26), from Royal Lodge Road, Belfast, denies exposure while Rory Harrison (25), from Manse Road, Belfast, denies perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

The court previously heard that the alleged victim told Harrison in a text message hours after the alleged attack that what happened with his friends "was not consensual".

In his evidence, Jackson claimed that despite meeting up at Soul Food cafe later that day, Harrison and McIlroy did not tell him what she had claimed.

When asked about his reaction to this, Jackson said: "Sitting here it's disappointing.

"I trust them, if they didn't tell me they didn't think it was as serious as it is now.

"Rory is a very nice guy. I can guarantee if he was worried he didn't want to cause me alarm or distress."

Prosecutor Toby Hedworth QC said in his cross-examination that after Jackson and his three friends returned to his home following a night out in Ollie's club with four "attractive young woman", there must have been "an expectation of what the night would have in store".

Jackson, however denied this saying: "No, I didn't."

Mr Hedworth further said that there had been "an anticipation" it was going to be a "frisky night".

The prosecuting barrister suggested Jackson had forced sexual intercourse with the alleged victim and then engaged in a certain sexual act when Olding walked into his bedroom.

Mr Hedworth put it to Jackson that he was at one end and Olding at the other.

Jackson rejected this, saying he used only his fingers in a consensual sexual activity.

Referring to the moment leading up the alleged rape, Mr Hedworth, said: "She went upstairs and you followed her, didn't you?"

Jackson replied: "No."

Mr Hedworth added: "The first time she played 'hard to get' and this time you thought, 'I'm not going to take no for an answer'."

Again, he denied this.

The Crown barrister put it to Jackson that when Olding walked into the room "you beckoned your friend to join in, when she made it quite apparent to you that she didn't want any sexual activity with anyone".

Jackson replied: "No, quite the opposite."

Jackson was further accused by the Crown lawyer of pushing his alleged victim beyond what she wanted to do.

"You just pushed and pushed beyond what that young woman wanted to do," he said.

Jackson replied: "Do you think with my friends we discussed raping someone?"

The prosecution answered: "I think you and your friends were hoping for a very good night. You were hoping it would end with having sex with someone."

Jackson responded: "The night happened the way it did and I woke up happy, and happy with what happened."

When asked what he would have done had he thought the woman did not believe what happened between them had been consensual he said: "I would have done everything I could to find out why.

"I would have contacted her or the police."

Mr Hedworth put it to Jackson that when the four accused met at Soul Food the "ranks had been closed".

Jackson responded: "What do you mean?"

Mr Hedworth continued: "(The complainant) was concerned that if she reported to the police it would be your group against her and she would be presented as a silly little girl who had done something she regretted and that is exactly the stance that's been taken."

Jackson replied: "No it's not. There is no stance."

The trial continues.

Belfast Telegraph

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