Northern Ireland

Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding: Alleged rape victim may face pre-trial questions

Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding Image copyright PA/Press Eye
Image caption Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding deny raping a woman in Belfast last year

A woman who alleges she was raped by two members of the Ireland and Ulster rugby teams may face questioning by defence lawyers at a pre-trial hearing.

Players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding are both charged with rape, while two other men face less serious charges over the alleged attack last year.

All four deny the charges against them.

A lawyer representing one of the men facing the lesser charges told a court they "may require to ask this person questions" at a preliminary hearing.

He added that if the alleged victim was to attend, her presence would change the way defence lawyers approached the preliminary hearing, which was scheduled for 17 October.

The four men are facing trial over alleged attack in Belfast in June 2016.

Mr Olding, 24, of Ardenlee Street in Belfast, is charged with two counts of raping the woman.

Pre-trial hearing

Twenty-five-year-old Mr Jackson, from Oakleigh Park in Belfast, is accused of one count of raping the same individual and one count of sexual assault.

The Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby have said both men will not play again until the court proceedings have ended.

The players' co-accused, Blane McIlroy, from Royal Lodge Road in Belfast, is charged with one count of exposure.

A forth man, Rory Harrison, from Manse Road in Belfast, is charged with perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

Defence lawyers were back in Belfast Magistrates' Court on Wednesday, as they prepared for a pre-trial hearing which will outline the prosecution case.

The judge said that if the woman was called to attend, the hearing "may well take more than a day".

She adjourned the case until later this month.

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