Belfast Telegraph

Rugby rape trial jury set to be sent out to deliberate

The rape trial has reached a critical stage at Belfast Crown Court.

A jury in the rape trial of two Irish rugby internationals is expected to begin their deliberations later.

A judge at Belfast Crown Court has told the eight men and three women she has almost completed her legal direction and the case has reached a critical stage.

At the end of a hearing on Monday Judge Patricia Smyth said: “This will not take a long time tomorrow morning. Then you will be asked to go out and begin your deliberations.”

Paddy Jackson, 26, from Belfast’s Oakleigh Park and his Ireland and Ulster teammate Stuart Olding, 25, from Ardenlee Street in the city deny raping the same woman after a night out in June 2016.

Jackson denies a further charge of sexual assault.

Two other men have been on trial on charges connected to the alleged attack.

Blane McIlroy, 26, from Royal Lodge Road, Belfast has pleaded not guilty to exposure while Rory Harrison, 25, denies perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

The high-profile trial was originally scheduled to last for five weeks but has now entered its ninth week.

Some 30 witnesses have given evidence, including the four defendants.

The complainant was in the witness box over the course of eight separate days.

Closing submissions were made by prosecution and defence barristers last week while the judge began her summing up on Friday.

Ms Smyth also spent several hours reviewing evidence from the case on Monday.

Proceedings are expected to get under way at 10am on Tuesday – half an hour earlier than usual.

The case continues.

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph