Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding: Rugby players' alleged rape victim may face pre-trial questioning

Paddy Jackson, left, and Stuart Olding, right, deny raping a woman in Belfast last yearReuters

A woman allegedly raped by two Ireland and Ulster Rugby players may face questioning by defence lawyers at a pre-trial hearing.

Paddy Jackson, 25, and Stuart Olding, 24, have both been charged with rape following an alleged attack on the same woman in Belfast in June 2016.

Jackson faces a further count of sexual assault, while two other men face less serious charges over the incident.

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All four men deny the allegations.

Defence lawyers were at a pre-trial hearing at Belfast Magistrates' Court on Wednesday (4 October).

Tony Caher, a lawyer representing one of the men facing the lesser charges, told the court they "may require to ask this person [the alleged victim] questions" at a preliminary hearing scheduled for 17 October.

It could lengthen the pre-trial preparations, the judge said.

Fly-half Jackson, of Oakleigh Park, Belfast, has been capped for Ireland 25 times.

Fellow Ulster Rugby teammate and centre Olding, of Ardenlee Street, Belfast, has played for his country on four occasions.

The Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby have said the pair will not play again until the conclusion of court proceedings.

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The two other men charged in connection with the case are:

  • Blane McIlroy, 25, from Royal Lodge Road, Ballydollaghan, Belfast. He is accused of one count of exposure.
  • Rory Harrison, also 25, from Manse Road, Belfast. He is charged with perverting the course of justice and withholding information. He is represented by Caher.

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