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What happened in Paddy Jackson's home was 'a throwback to the days of male entitlement', jury told

The prosecution has been summing up its case to the jury.

Paddy Jackson denies charges of rape and sexual assault.
Paddy Jackson denies charges of rape and sexual assault.
Image: Charles McQuillan

Updated at 6.06pm

A JURY PRESIDING over a trial involving two rugby players accused of rape were told today that what happened in the bedroom of Paddy Jackson’s south Belfast home was “a throwback to the days of male entitlement.”

As he summed up the Crown’s case to the jury of eight men and three women, prosecuting barrister Toby Hedworth QC said it didn’t matter what school the defendants went to, or how successful their rugby careers were.

Rather, the barrister said, what was important was that “overbearing drunk young men … with their passions raised”, used a then 19-year old for their own sexual gratification even though they knew “she didn’t consent, but they simply were not interested.”

Now in its seventh week, the jury has already heard the 21-year old complainant made the case that whilst attending an afterparty at Jackson’s Oakleigh Park home following a night out in the VIP section at Ollie’s, she was raped from behind by Jackson whilst being forced to perform oral sex on his Ulster Rugby teammate Stuart Olding (24), from Ardenlee Street.

Both men have denied the charge, while 26-year old Jackson denies a further charge of sexual assault. The pair claim any activity was consensual.

The complainant also claimed that as this attack was coming to an end, Blane McIlroy appeared in the bedroom, naked, with his penis in his hand and demanding sex. He has been charged with, and denies, exposure.

Hammering home to the jury the woman’s claim that what happened was not consensual, Hedworth said: “The law of this land says that a young woman is allowed to say no and any such no not only should be heeded but it must be heeded.”

The law does not say ‘oh well, you let me kiss you so I can force myself upon you’ and the male will decide how far things will go. The law is not ‘if she was up for something then I and my friends, if they fancy, can in effect do as I and they please.’

“The world has moved on. Unfortunately, the behaviour of some in our society has not. What happened in the bedroom of Patrick Jackson’s bedroom in the early hours of Tuesday the 28th of June represents, we say, a throwback to the days of male entitlement.”

‘Me too’

Saying this case was not about ‘me too’ or gender politics, Hedworth said the crux of the trial was about the conduct of Jackson, Olding and McIlroy against a woman whose views were not sought. The prosecutor also spoke of Rory Harrison’s conduct in the aftermath of the incident.

The 25-year old, from Manse Road, has been charged with and denies perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

Hedworth said that rather than being a knight in shining armour who came to the woman’s assistance and brought her home, he was more concerned about impeding the police investigation and protecting his friends – even when he was aware the woman said what happened to her with his friends was non-consensual.

Rejecting the defence’s assertion that the woman was “trying to bag a celebrity” in Ollie’s before going back to the party at Jackson’s, Hedworth reminded the jury that the complainant made it quite clear she was not interested in either Northern Ireland footballers or Ulster Rugby players.

In his summary to the jury, Hedworth asked the members to consider the vastly differing versions of events given by all four defendants. And while he accepted there were inconsistencies in the accounts the woman gave in the aftermath of the incident, Hedworth said this was not uncommon with rape victims who often experience “misguided shame, trauma and shock.”

Taxi driver

The prosecutor asked then to consider the evidence of the taxi driver who picked Harrison and the young woman up, and who noted a female sobbing and crying throughout the journey.

He asked them to consider the 1 cm tear to the woman’s vaginal wall, and also to consider why the woman’s first concern was obtaining the morning-after pill – despite the defendant’s claims that nobody penetrated her with a penis.

Hedworth said: “And so Patrick Jackson and Stuart Olding. Who cares where they went to school? Who cares about what junior team they played rugby for? Who cares which academy team they played for? Who cares about their level of success on the rugby field?

It matters not whether you are a prince or a pauper. You are just as capable of getting yourself extremely drunk and doing something, no doubt, in the cold light of day, realising the consequences for yourself, you may come to regret.

The prosecutor asked the jury to decide whether or not the four men in the dock were “legends”.

He also asked the jury to give “careful, thorough and detached consideration” to the evidence they have heard, adding “you can and shall be satisfied … that each of the allegations are proved. If this is so, we invite you to return the appropriate verdicts of guilty.”

“Flawed to its core”

Following Mr Hedworth’s submissions, the jury was then addressed by Brendan Kelly QC, the barrister representing Jackson, who branded the Crown case “flawed to its core”.

Asking the members “can you be sure that what started life as an allegation and is now a charge can be proven?” Kelly said it was not a case of suspecting or guessing, but they have to ask themselves “am I sure?… that’s what it boils down to”.

The defence barrister told them:

If you are sure, without hesitation, it is your duty to convict. If you are less than sure, it is your duty to acquit.

Kelly branded the Crown’s version of what occurred in Jackson’s bedroom as being “flawed with inconsistencies, flawed to its core”.

Pointing out the issue in this case was one of consent, Kelly said “drunken consent is still consent”, adding the trial “is not a court of morals” and should not be judged on “emotion or sympathy”.

He told the jury:

We may all have daughters, we may all be fathers, but that’s not what this is about. This case is whether or not they, the prosecution, have brought evidence upon which you can be sure Paddy Jackson raped with his penis, then his fingers, (the complainant).

Kelly spoke of the young woman who opened the door of Jackson’s bedroom and said she saw a threesome. She also told the jury whilst giving evidence that Jackson asked if she wanted to join in, which she declined.

Jackson’s barrister asked the jury to consider what would have happened if she had agreed. He asked “is it really the Crown’s case that half the bed would have been consenting and the other half not?”

Kelly spoke of the “black hole” in the case – the events surrounding the first visit to the bedroom. The complainant said there was consensual kissing with Jackson in his bedroom which ended when he tried to pull her white trousers down.

However, while Jackson confirms kissing did take place in his bedroom, he claimed it stopped when she asked his name, and he said he didn’t know it. Kelly said that whilst being cross examined about this earlier in the trial, there were several elements she said she couldn’t recall.

Regarding the second visit – when she claimed she was raped from behind by Jackson after he pushed her onto the bed then forced to perform oral sex on Olding when he entered the room – Kelly said there were elements of her evidence which were “plain wrong”.

One such element, Kelly suggested, was when she later told a friend in a text she was able to make escape from the room when one of her attackers got off her. This, Kelly said, was a lie.

“Eight adults” in the house

Pointing out there were “eight adults” in the house that could have come to her assistance, Kelly reminded the jury that when she was giving evidence, the complainant “made it quite clear… she was petrified about this getting out. Not scared, not anxious, but petrified this would get out”.

The barrister continued:

She described herself as being frozen. You know how noise travels in that house. You have seen it with your own eyes, yet not so much as a yell.

Reiterating the point that in this trial consent was “the headline”, Mr Kelly asked the jury “have the prosecution proven a lack of consent?”

Saying his client Jackson has made the case he used his fingers and not his penis to penetrate the complainant’s vagina, Jackson said there was no forensic evidence to back up her claim.

Turning back to the woman who walked in on the incident, Kelly spoke of the “irony” of the Crown’s reliance on her evidence.

Kelly said that while the witness in her evidence said she was “100%” about witnessing Jackson having intercourse with the complainant, this could not be correct as this witness neither saw where one of Jackson’s hands was nor saw his penis.

Kelly then addressed the issue of the complainant seeking the morning after pill, which he said “was not the slam dunk” the prosecution thought it was.

Instead of confirming penile rape, Kelly suggested this was part of the woman’s plan. The barrister said it was rather a case of, the following morning, the woman thinking to herself “My God, this could be on social media … I have to run the line of the classic rape victim, otherwise my life is ruined”.

Kelly closed today’s hearing by returning to the woman’s claim that she froze. Saying “there wasn’t one shred of force used” by Jackson or Olding, and that no threats were issued at any point, Mr Kelly asked the jury to consider “what does frozen mean? What does it really mean?”

In this context, he asked whether someone ‘frozen’ would perform oral sex on a man, using her hands, to the point of ejaculation. Kelly said:

This isn’t frozen. This, members of the jury, I’m afraid to conclude, is engagement.

Kelly is due to finish his closing submission tomorrow morning

Read: Rory Harrison accused of being ‘delegated’ to look after distressed woman after alleged rape >

Read: Paddy Jackson would be the ‘last person in the world to rape someone’, court hears >

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Ashleigh McDonald

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