Friend tells court alleged rape victim would not lie to her
A friend of the woman who was allegedly raped by two Ireland international rugby players of rape has told a court the alleged victim would not lie to her.
The woman, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the complainant, was the first person to be told of the alleged rape almost two years ago.
In evidence to Belfast Crown Court she said: "Because she had told me this, the truth was not basically in my head.
"I assumed she was telling the truth. She would not be lying to me."
The woman was being cross-examined by a barrister representing Paddy Jackson, who denies rape and sexual assault.
Brendan Kelly QC had asked whether the two friends had any discussion about the importance of telling the truth.
Meanwhile, CCTV footage showing the two women in the VIP area of Ollie's nightclub in Belfast was relayed to the court.
It s howed them leaving separately. Afterwards, the witness went to McDonald's, the court heard.
She was asked whether she had effectively "given up" on her friend.
Mr Kelly said: "You had waited by that time for close to ten minutes and she was showing no signs of coming with you was she, from what we see on the video?"
The woman answered: "No, but then again I am not there to take her home. It is probably just out of politeness."
Mr Kelly added: "She had no interest in joining you that night?"
The witness said: "I cannot comment. I cannot really answer for her."
Meanwhile, the woman was also cross-examined on a text exchange in which the complainant said she wanted to speak to "someone legally" about the alleged incident.
The witness said: "Statistics generally are not in your favour and I presumed she was going to speak to someone about that."
Pressed furth er on the matter, she added: "I think she wanted to get actual legal advice."
However, she said she was unsure what, if anything, was discussed.
Earlier, the court heard how the two women had discussed rape in text exchanges days before the alleged attack.
When asked why the witness had expressed a reluctance to go to the police, she answered: "I guess from what is going on in this room. It is daunting, it is quite horrible and you get blamed.
"It is a distressing process."
When asked to explain further comments in which she had suggested blackmailing or stabbing rapists, the woman answered: "That was quite clearly a joke."
The woman was also questioned by Frank O'Donoghue QC, representing Stuart Olding.
He put it to the court that there was "no reference" to oral sex in any of the exchanges between the two women after the alleged rape.
Mr O'Donoghue said: "She never s aid to you that she had been simultaneously raped in the mouth and vagina?"
The witness replied: "Not in that way."
There was also no mention that someone walked into the room, Mr O'Donoghue suggested.
The woman answered: "I remember she said that in trauma your memory could be patchy and could come back later."
The court heard the witness travelled to her friend's house the following morning and brought her to a sexual health clinic in Belfast city centre, after being unable to find a rape crisis centre.
Under cross examination by Arthur Harvey QC, representing Blane McIlroy, the woman told the court she had never seen her friend so upset.
"As soon as she got into the car she immediately hugged me and started crying," she said.
The complainant normally keeps her composure, the court heard.
She added: "For her to just get into the car, hug me and start crying, I didn't even know how to respond to that.
"She has never been that emotional with me."
Mr Jackson, 26, and his Ireland and Ulster and team-mate Stuart Olding, 24, from Ardenlee Street deny raping the same woman on June 28 2016.
Mr Jackson denies a further charge of sexual assault.
Mr McIlroy, 26, from Royal Lodge Road, Ballydollaghan, Belfast, denies exposure.
Rory Harrison, 25, from Manse Road, Belfast, denies perverting the course of justice and withholding information.Source: Google News