Woman who accused rugby players of rape denies 'lying to protect reputation'

A woman who accused two Ireland rugby internationals of rape has rejected suggestions she lied to protect her reputation.

The woman also dismissed defence claims she had willingly engaged in group sex.

She told the court: "I was raped. I do not think I can make myself any clearer."

Paddy Jackson, from Oakleigh Park in Belfast, and Stuart Olding, from Ardenlee Street also in the city, deny raping the same woman at a house in south Belfast in June 2016.

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

Jackson denies a further charge of sexual assault.

During cross examination, Brendan Kelly QC, representing Jackson, put it to the court: "You were petrified that either the rumour or the proof of this sexual activity would find its way to your friends.

"That's what drove you on as far as running with this lie, is it not?"

The woman responded: "No, this is not a lie, Mr Kelly."

The woman was also questioned about comments she made to one of the defendants in the aftermath of the attack, in which she is claimed to have said "this does not happen to a girl like me".

Mr Kelly asked: "What doesn't happen to a girl like you?

"Rape, as far as we know, can happen to any girl."

The woman replied: "Yes, it can and it happened to me."

The lawyer further suggested: "What might not happen to girls like you is that you are witnessed in group sexual activity?"

The complainant answered: "Mr Kelly, again I was raped. It was not consensual group activity at all."

Earlier, the court was shown clothing, including underwear worn by the woman on the night she alleges she was attacked, June 28, 2016.

A pair of thong-type pants, white trousers and black sequinned top were removed from brown envelopes and shown to the complainant, judge and jury.

Two other men have also been returned for trial on charges connected with the same incident alleged to have happened at an after-party following an evening at a Belfast nightclub.

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

Before the legal proceedings got under way for a seventh day, Judge Patricia Smyth warned the 12 person jury panel not to carry out independent research online and to ignore media reports on the case.

The case continues.

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