Rugby rape allegation 'a throwback to days of male entitlement'

The alleged rape of a woman by two Ireland and Ulster rugby players represents a throwback to the days of male entitlement, a court has been told.

The claim was made as prosecutor Toby Hedworth QC began his closing speech at Belfast Crown Court.

He said: "The law of this land says that a young woman is allowed to say no, and any such no not only should be heeded but must be heeded."

Paddy Jackson, 26, from Oakleigh Park, Belfast, and Stuart Olding, 25, from Ardenlee Street, Belfast, deny raping the woman after a night out in the city in June 2016.

Jackson denies a further charge of sexual assault.

Stuart Olding denies raping the woman (Liam McBurney/PA)
Stuart Olding denies raping the woman (Liam McBurney/PA)

Two other men are charged in connection with the alleged attack.

Blane McIlroy, 26, from Royal Lodge Road in Belfast, denies one count of exposure.

Rory Harrison, 25, from Manse Road in Belfast, has pleaded not guilty to perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

The high-profile trial is in its seventh week.

Paddy Jackson denies rape and sexual assault (Liam McBurney/PA)
Paddy Jackson denies rape and sexual assault (Liam McBurney/PA)

Addressing the jury of eight men and three women, Mr Hedworth added: "What happened represents a throwback to the days of male entitlement."

The lawyer said the case was not about the Me Too campaign or gender politics but was about the behaviour of the first three defendants in the trial.

He said: "The evidence shows they are not interested in the views of a young woman if their passions are up and they are full of drink."

The jury was also told that evidence shows it is easier for complainants "just to comply".

Mr Hedworth said: "If she dares to complain thereafter then she is obviously some silly little girl."

She "is getting the boys into trouble", the lawyer added.

"That is not the modern world. These are not the rules of our present day society as regulated by our modern laws."

The case continues.

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