Netizen 24 IRL: Belfast trial: 'It doesn't matter what someone's profession is. Rape is rape'

Diposting oleh On 07.54

Belfast trial: 'It doesn't matter what someone's profession is. Rape is rape'

A close friend of the woman who was allegedly raped by Ireland and Ulster rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding has denied telling the complainant to lie to police.

The witness told the trial at Laganside Crown Court on Thursday that she and the complainant exchanged text messages shortly after the alleged rape. She said she pleaded with her friend to go to the hospital and police.

The alleged victim texted back saying she did not like the PSNI and was worried things would get “messy” if she made allegations against Ulster rugby players.

Her friend replied: “Just pret end you don’t know them from rugby. Pretend you’d never seen them before.”

Counsel for Mr Jackson, Brendan Kelly QC, asked her what she meant by this. “The meaning behind that is, it doesn’t matter what someone’s profession is. Rape is rape,” she replied.

She said she was saying the profession of the men was irrelevant so the woman should just ignore it and not bring it up.

Mr Kelly asked if she thought her friend might lie to the police.

“I would never have told my friend to lie. Never,” she replied.

Earlier, another friend of the woman told the trial the complainant wanted to “get legal advice” before going to police.

The friend, who was out with the complainant on the night before the alleged rape, was giving evidence about texts they exchanged over the following days.

Evidence collected

The day after the alleged rape, the witness brought her friend to a sexual health clinic where she was examined and evidence was collected.

The following day she texted the complainant stating: “I’m going to say it again but when you’re ready, go to the police.” She added: ‘It doesn’t have to be now. The evidence is there already.”

The complainant replied: “I want to speak to someone legally to see what my chances are.”

Mr Kelly asked the witness what her friend meant by this.

“Statistics aren’t generally in your favour if you go to police. I presume she wanted to speak to someone about that,” the witness replied. “I think she wanted to get actual legal advice.”

The wit ness also said she had never seen the complainant as upset as she was when they met for the first time after the alleged rape. She said she was picking the complainant up in her car. The complainant got in, hugged her and started crying,

During re-examination, the witness told Toby Hedworth QC, prosecuting, she had known her friend for a long time and had seen her through “sad” incidents before but she had never seen her like this. She said her friend had always kept her composure and been “verbally strong.”

“For her to just get in car and not stop crying, I didn’t know how to respond. That shook me.”

Counsel also asked her about a text exchange with the complainant two w eeks before the alleged rape when they discussed the general issue of rape.

During the conversation, the witness said if she ever got raped she would not go to the police and would deal with the matter herself.

‘It’s daunting’

Asked by counsel why she would not go to police, the witness replied: “Because of what’s happening in this room. It’s daunting, quite horrible and you get blamed. It’s a distressing process”.

The next text from the complainant said that nine out of 10 rapes in the UK go unreported. The witness texted back that she would “find a way to blackmail or stab them or something” if she was raped. She told counsel she had said this in a humo rous manner. “I wasn’t serious.”

The complainant replied she was thinking about taking up boxing and her friend responded that was a good idea.

Mr Jackson (26), of Oakleigh Park, Belfast has pleaded not guilty to rape and sexual assault in the early hours of June 28th, 2016 at a party in his house. Mr Olding (24), of Ardenlee Street, Belfast, denies one count of rape on the same occasion. Both men contend the activity was consensual.

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

The trial continues before Judge Patricia Smyth and a jury.

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