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23rd Nov 2018

RTÉ To Air Second Belfast Rugby Rape Trial Documentary On Saturday

Darragh Berry

RTÉ has confirmed that a second documentary looking back at the nine-week trial of Ireland and Ulster rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding, along with Blane McIlroy and Rory Harrison at Belfast Crown Court will air on Saturday.

The first documentary was shown on RTE One in July.

This week’s RTÉ Radio 1 Documentary on One “is a documentary on the marathon trial that dominated public and private discussion in the first part of 2018,” according to RTE.

In a statement about the upcoming documentary, they said that:

“The last thing I want is a girl crying leaving my house.” So said Paddy Jackson, referring to a party in his house in June 2016.

But a woman did leave that party crying. The reason for her tears was the subject of a rape trial which took place in Belfast in the early months of 2018.

The so-called, “Belfast Rape Trial” led to widespread media coverage, social media comment and street protests. Irish rugby captain, Rory Best, was criticised for attending the court.

This documentary features the two leading barristers in the case.

Toby Hedworth, QC for the Prosecution, made headlines for his use of pithy and colloquial language. For example, describing Paddy Jackson as looking like, “the cat that got the cream” or Stuart Olding as having drunk “a skinful”.

He says about his cross-examination techniques, in general: “You’ve got to talk to a jury and witnesses in ways that they understand and you’re on a level with them – people don’t generally say ‘was intoxicated’ – they say ‘skinful’. It’s easier to get a jury to understand what you’re driving at by using that sort of language. It may be that, in choosing the question in the hope that the question and answer resonate with jury – it’s quotable because you’ve distilled it to make an impact.”

Brendan Kelly QC for Paddy Jackson was criticised for introducing the complainant’s thong into court: “The clothes had to be introduced because of the confusion as to what might have been the source of blood and what was the source of blood. Had counsel not put the clothing to the witness, the whole approach of counsel would have been called into question by the judge and by the Crown and we would have been bound to be criticised that these points are made to the jury but the complainant was not given the opportunity to answer them.”

The documentary will air on RTÉ Radio One on Saturday 24th November at 2pm and you can find more information about it here.

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