Jury sworn in to hear trial of two Ireland rugby players accused of raping woman

Paddy Jackson and his teammate Stuart Olding, who are both from Belfast, deny raping her at Jackson’s home

Jury sworn in to hear trial of two Ireland rugby players accused of raping woman

Ireland and Ulster rugby player Stuart Olding arrives at Belfast Crown Court. Picture by: Liam McBurney/PA Wire/PA Images

A jury has been sworn in to hear the trial of two Ireland rugby players accused of raping the same woman in south Belfast in 2016.

Paddy Jackson and his Ulster teammate Stuart Olding both deny the charge, while Jackson has also pleaded not guilty to sexual assault.

Before beginning the process of selecting a jury to hear what’s expected to be a five week trial, Judge Patricia Smyth introduced each of the four accused to the first group of potential jurors brought into the court room.

Paddy Jackson was asked to stand up and Judge Smyth said he was charged with offences of a sexual nature. She described him as an international Irish rugby player who also plays professionally for Ulster.

His club and country teammate Stuart Olding was then asked to stand. He also denies raping the same woman at Jackson’s home in June 2016.

24-year-old Blane McIlroy of Royal Lodge Road in Belfast has pleaded not guilty to exposure.

A fourth man, Rory Harrison from Manse Road in Belfast city, denies perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

Judge Smyth asked potential jurors to bring it to the court’s attention if they were a season ticket holders or if they, or any of their family members, worked or volunteered for Ulster Rugby Club.

The trial is due to begin hearing evidence tomorrow.