Belfast Telegraph

Significant inconsistencies between accuser’s accounts, rugby rape trial told

Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding are on trial at Belfast Crown Court.

A detective who investigated rape allegations against two Ireland rugby players has agreed there were “significant inconsistencies” between the complainant’s accounts to police and doctors at a rape referral centre.

The officer was being cross-examined by a barrister representing Stuart Olding, who denies one count of oral rape.

Frank O’Donoghue QC said: “Was it not apparent there were significant inconsistencies between what the complainant said to the Rowan (referral centre) and what she was telling the police?”

“Yes there were,” the officer answered.

The high-profile trial is approaching the end of its fifth week at Belfast Crown Court.

Ireland and Ulster rugby player Paddy Jackson (Niall Carson/PA)

Differing or inconsistent accounts could be attributed to trauma, mistake or fragmented memory, the court was told.

Mr O’Donoghue added: “But of course there may be another less plausible reason and sometimes it is deemed necessary to ask the witness.”

The complainant was not asked to take part in a third ABE (achieving best evidence) interview.

The officer said: “There was no decision made to take a further interview.”

Earlier the detective constable, attached to the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s (PSNI) rape crime unit, had been asked to explain why “crucial questions” were not put to the complainant.

Mr O’Donoghue suggested the absence of “important detail” was “crucial to the evaluation to ever put Mr Olding on trial”.

The officer, who has 20 years’ experience, replied: “She gave us the detail of what she had and the detail she could give at the time.”

Meanwhile, the court also heard that while Olding was being questioned by police at a Belfast city centre station on June 30 2016, his house was searched without his knowledge.

Mr O’Donoghue said: “He came straight in and he was arrested and he was detained and his keys were taken off him.

“Mr Olding would say he was never told that his house was being searched. There’s no evidence to prove that he was told.”

A number of items of clothing were seized but not the blue shirt, trousers or brown shoes he had been wearing on the night of the alleged attack.

Mr O’Donoghue asked: “Was there ever a direction to get the shirt, to get the jeans, to get the shoes and to get the boxers?”

The officer answered: “Not to my knowledge.”

Paddy Jackson, 26, from Oakleigh Park in Belfast, and Olding, 24, from Ardenlee Street in the city, deny raping the same woman during an after-party at Jackson’s home in June 2016.

Blane McIlroy, from Royal Lodge Road, Belfast, denies one count of exposure to the same complainant, while Rory Harrison, 25, from Manse Road, Belfast, denies perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

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