Paddy Jackson's life 'blighted by untruthful' rape claims, Belfast court hears
Ireland and Ulster rugby player Paddy Jackson's life has been "blighted" for almost two years by the rape allegations, his lawyer has said.
Brendan Kelly QC described the evidence against the sportsman as "untruthful and inconsistent".
Summing up the evidence on Friday, the defence lawyer warned the jury at Belfast Crown Court not to pay attention to the headlines the case has attracted.
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"We have got this headline of rugby player every day. Rugby rape.
"But you scratch the surface of this man, Paddy Jackson, you start to see a bit more. You get to see what he is," said Mr Kelly.
He added: "The question is, does the quality of this evidence with its untruths and central inconsistencies, does it deserve a conviction of this gravity?"
"Twenty months of his (Jackson's) life have been blighted by evidence of this poor quality.
"Each time evidence was checked, each time evidence came from a video or another source, the complainant's account fell."
Mr Kelly told the jury that Jackson had not been obliged to take the stand in his own defence but he chose to do so.
"A defendant need play no part in a criminal trial. Some defendants choose to give evidence.
"In this case Mr Jackson and his co-defendants have all given evidence. No one has hidden. No one has tried to conceal. Everyone has got up, with their good character, and given their account," he said.
Referring to Mr Jackson's success on the rugby field, Mr Kelly asked the jury not to hold that against him.
"He's not looking for special treatment. That's never been his pitch ever," he said.
The lawyer added: "Don't fall into 'is he trying to play the rugby card?'
"He's not. The fact he played for Ireland - so what?"
He referred to CCTV footage outside Ollies nightclub which showed Jackson standing with his hands in his pockets.
"The person you look at there is half an hour later turned into a marauding rapist," said Mr Kelly.
Belfast Telegraph Digital