Belfast trial: Judge tells jury she could only accept unanimous verdict

After nine weeks, the jury has now retired to begin its deliberations

Belfast trial: Judge tells jury she could only accept unanimous verdict

Top left Paddy Jackson, top right Stuart Olding, bottom left Rory Harrison, bottom right Blane McIlroy. Images: Niall Carson/PA Wire/PA Images

The jurors in Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding’s rape trial have begun their deliberations.

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

Their friend Blane McIlroy is accused of walking in “completely naked”, and another friend Rory Harrison is accused of perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

Another delay in the trial resulted in a slightly later start this morning.

When the eleven jurors returned to the courtroom, Judge Patricia Smyth continued her summary of the evidence heard.

In relation to inconsistencies in the account the complainant gave to the doctor who forensically examined her and the account she later gave to police, Judge Smyth told them they’d have to decide whether trauma could explain them.

She said if they believe she lied or deliberately made false allegations, then they must approach her evidence with caution.

In relation to the good character of the four defendants, she told the jurors it was up to them to decide what weight they should give it.

She also gave a general warning about lies, and said people lie for all sorts of reasons and it can sometimes be for an innocent reason.

After nine weeks, the jury has now retired to begin its deliberations.

The issue paper containing all of the charges was handed to the jury foreman.

Before they left the courtroom, Judge Smyth told them she could only accept a unanimous verdict of all eleven.