Belfast rape trial: Paddy Jackson’s barrister finishes closing speech

Brendan Kelly described the quality of the evidence as poor

Belfast rape trial: Paddy Jackson’s barrister finishes closing speech

Ireland and Ulster rugby player Paddy Jackson arrives at Belfast Crown Court. Picture by: Niall Carson/PA Wire/PA Images

Updated: 13.40

Paddy Jackson's barrister has asked the jury in his rape trial not to be distracted by headlines and to look at his client's good character.

The Ireland and Ulster rugby player is accused of raping a woman at a party in his south Belfast home in June 2016.

Mr Jackson was the first of the four defendants to take the stand last week, and his barrister Brendan Kelly reminded the jurors today that he was under no obligation to do so, but did because he has "nothing to hide".

Mr Jackson told the court the woman performed oral sex on him but he said it was consensual, and he denied having intercourse with her.

Throughout his closing speech, Mr Kelly spoke about what he considered to be "clear inconsistencies" in the woman’s version of what happened.

He claims she made the whole thing up because she regretted engaging in a consensual threesome with Mr Jackson and his Ireland and Ulster teammate Stuart Olding - who is also on trial accused of raping the same woman.

Mr Kelly criticised the police investigation, describing it as "slack".

In relation to the theories put forward by the prosecution, he asked the jurors to look at the evidence carefully and to test them on the evidence and not to just fill in gaps.

"Don’t be distracted by headlines," he said. "Get your hands dirty and work out whether those theories are on foundation or not".

Closing speeches will resume when the court reconvenes on Wednesday.