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Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding rape trial doctor doesn't know if sex was consensual, court told

Warning: These reports contain details which some readers might find upsetting

By Claire O'Boyle

A doctor who examined a woman who claims she was raped by two Ulster Rugby players has said her internal injuries could not determine whether sex was consensual or not.

Belfast Crown Court heard how the forensic medical officer, who examined the woman less than 24 hours after the alleged attack, discovered a "bleeding laceration" on the vaginal wall, internal bruising, as well as minor bruising on her arm and legs.

When asked if the injuries helped "in establishing whether this was consensual or not", Dr Philip Lavery told the court: "There's no way of giving entire credence to whether this was consensual or not - it does not help on deciding consensuality of intercourse."

The doctor, who has been a GP since 1996 and had worked at the Rowan centre at Antrim Hospital since November 2015, identified a "one centimetre bleeding laceration" on the wall of the woman's vagina, just inside the vaginal opening.

Ireland rugby player Paddy Jackson (26) and his team-mate Stuart Olding (24) deny rape. Jackson denies a further charge of sexual assault.

The jury of nine men and three women has already heard that in the aftermath of the alleged rape the complainant - who was 19 at the time - went first to the Brook sexual health clinic in Belfast, before attending the Rowan sexual assault referral centre at Antrim Hospital on June 28, 2016.

When questioned about what might cause a tear of this sort, the doctor said: "Any blunt force trauma to the wall of the vagina."

He added: "It could include a penis, it could include fingers, it could include any object."

Prosecution barrister Toby Hedworth said: "Is there anything about this tear that could allow you to choose between any of those as a cause?"

The doctor answered: "No."

He told the jury how he had witnessed "fresh blood" from the injury using a technique of applying and removing pressure with a swab. The doctor also said he did not believe the blood was a result of menstruation.

The jury also heard how swabs and blood samples were taken by medics at the Rowan centre, and clothing the complainant had worn on the night in question was also retained. The woman had been tearful but co-operative during the hour-long examination and showed no signs of intoxication, the court heard.

The doctor read out a statement he made to police about what the complainant told him the night he examined her.

In it he described how she told of being "pushed on to the bed" and raped by a man who then turned her over and "raped her from the front". The alleged assailant caused pain because he was "rough", the doctor noted.

According to the document, a second man entered the room and vaginally raped her while she was on her back. No condom was used and she was unsure if ejaculation had taken place, he said.

A third man then came into the room and took his trousers off, but the doctor had recorded the woman was able to escape when the second alleged suspect "got off her".

When the witness was asked if he noted any threats and violence were used, he said he noted "none". He was also asked about bruising on the woman's right arm and legs, and told the court that during the exam the woman said she had no recollection of how she got the bruises.

The medic also confirmed he did not conduct an examination of the woman's mouth, other than a swab for DNA purposes, as she did not make the case she had been orally raped.

Mr Olding's barrister Frank O'Donoghue put it to the witness there could have been "internal bruising of the mouth" if she had been forced to perform oral sex, and that with a "history of forcible entry of the penis into the back of the throat or mouth, that's an area that can be examined".

The doctor answered: "Yes."

Mr O'Donoghue added: "The other aspect is the scalp, it would be a source of examination if there was a history of forcing the head against the penis."

"Yes," the doctor responded.

"The only part of the body you didn't examine was the scalp," said Mr O'Donoghue.

Blane McIlroy (26) is charged with exposure and Rory Harrison (25) is charged with perverting the course of justice and withholding information. Both deny all charges.

The trial continues.

Belfast Telegraph

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