Updated: 09/04/18 : 08:40:21Printable Version
A hearing is due to be heard today on whether reporting restrictions relating to Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding’s rape trial should be lifted.
It has been almost two weeks since the Ireland and Ulster rugby teammates were acquitted of raping the same woman at Jackson’s home in Belfast.
It was nine weeks before the jurors to be sent out to consider the evidence against Paddy Jackson, Stuart Olding and two of their friends and it took them less than four hours to find them all not guilty.
Mr. Jackson was acquitted of raping and sexually assaulting the then 19-year-old student at an ‘after party’ at his home in south Belfast in the early hours of June 28, 2016.
Mr. Olding was also found not guilty of rape. Their friend Blane McIlroy was acquitted of exposure and another friend called Rory Harrison was cleared of perverting the course of justice and withholding information.
Despite the trial now being over, the media has so far been prohibited from reporting on the various legal arguments that took place in the absence of the jury.
The reporting restriction usually falls away once a trial is over but a court order was made to prevent the details being published or broadcast in any way.
A hearing on whether that order should be lifted is due to be heard today before the trial judge Patricia Smyth.
A new report out today recommends that rape trials pre-record evidence with complainants.
Rape Crisis Network Ireland says it would help protect vulnerable witnesses without endangering the right to a fair trial for the defendant.
The suggestion is just one of a list of possible changes to the legal system that have been under scrutiny after the Belfast rape case.