Belfast trial: Barrister says Rory Harrison's character is "exemplary"

Mr Harrison's lawyer was the last of the four defence barristers to address the jurors

Belfast trial: Barrister says Rory Harrison's character is "exemplary"

Rory Harrison arrives at Belfast Crown Court on 07-03-2018. Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/PA Images

Updated 14.55

This article contains graphic details which some readers may find distressing

All of the legal teams in Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding’s rape trial have now addressed the jurors for a final time.

The Ireland and Ulster rugby players are accused of raping a 19-year-old student at Jackson’s home in south Belfast in June 2016.

Two of the rugby players’ friends are also in the dock beside them.

Blane McIlroy is facing one count of exposure, and Rory Harrison denies perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

Gavan Duffy, representing Mr Harrison, was the last of the four defence barristers to address the jurors.

The prosecution claims Mr Harrison knew or was aware that sexual activity took place in the house that night, that he lied about the woman “staring at” Paddy Jackson at the party, that he downplayed her level of distress and upset, and that he deliberately deleted text messages exchanged with the woman after dropping her home in a shared taxi.

Mr Duffy claimed the charge relating to perverting the justice of doesn’t have a leg to stand on and comes down to speculation.

In relation to the withholding information/concealing an offence charge, he told the jurors they can only proceed with that if they’re satisfied the rape took place.

Closing address

Earlier, Mr Duffy began his closing address by asking the jurors not to allow sympathy or prejudices affect their judgement.

He warned them that they answer to no one except their conscience and don't have the power to undo their verdict once they've made it.

He said his client answered all the questions asked of him in an “honest, straight forward and candid manner.”

He accused the police of not treating him fairly following his arrest.

He said Mr Harrison wasn't told he was going to be arrested when he was invited to attend the police station four months after giving his witness statement, and he said he was refused a copy of that statement when he asked for it.

He described his client’s character as “exemplary”, and questioned when he became a “weasel” as suggested by the prosecution.

He said people with good character are less likely to commit a criminal offence and are more likely to tell the truth when called to give evidence.

Judge Patricia Smyth will begin her final address to the jurors tomorrow, and they’ve already been told they’re likely to begin their deliberations on Tuesday.

If you have been affected by anything mentioned in this article you can contact the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre National 24-Hour helpline on 1800 77 88 88.