The RCP team discuss the Belfast Rugby Rape trial, a trial that lasted 42 days and reached a conclusion last Wednesday 28 March 2018.
It took the jury just 3 hours and 45 of deliberations (the amount of time it takes to do one laundry cycle) to acquit the accused Paddy Jackson, Stuart Olding, Blane Mcllory and Rory Harrison on all counts.
Paddy Jackson, 26 and Stuart Olding, 25, were charged with rape after a night out in Belfast on June 28 2016.
Blane McIlory, 26, was charged with indecent exposure and Rory Harrison, 25, with perverting the course of justice and withholding information. All four pleaded not guilty.
The team debate the case, decisions taken and the evidence presented. The bottom line in trials always comes down to one question, particularly in rape trials - who do you believe?
Here's a sample of the text messages that passed between the men that night following the alleged rape. Source https://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/inside-court-12-the-complete-story-of-the-belfast-rape-trial-1.3443620
The prosecution concluded its case by reading the texts exchanged between the men on June 28th, 2016, some of which had been deleted and later recovered. Jackson, Olding and McIlroy were members of a WhatsApp group called JACOME, the jury heard. The name comes from their initials and the initials of other friends not before the court. In the group, Jackson and Olding boasted about “spit-roasting” the woman.
This word was a point of contention in the trial. The defence maintained “spit-roasting” could mean any sexual activity involving two men and a woman while the prosecution suggested it very specifically means a woman penetrated orally and vaginally by two men at the same time.
To prove this the prosecution had hired an expert in slang language to write a report on the exact meaning of the word, although this was never presented in court.
Just before noon on June 28th, McIlroy had asked in a message: “What the f*** was going on? Last night was hilarious.” A subsequent message was not recovered, however McIlroy followed that up with: “really f*** sake” and “Did U calm her and where did she live.” Harrison immediately replied; “Mate no jokes she was in hysterics” and “Wasn’t going to end well.”
Other messages gave an insight into the highly chauvinistic tenor of the men’s conversations. “Any sluts get fucked?” one friend asked Olding that day. “Pumped a girl with Jacko on Monday. Roasted her. Then another on Tuesday night,” McIlroy texted another person.
And “love Belfast sluts”– a text from McIlroy attached to a picture of Dara Florence and her two friends taken at the party. Those were the texts heard by the jury.
The texts were banter and immature boasting according to the defence, the words of young men who were egging each other on. O’Donoghue, for McIlroy, called them “a titillating sideshow” with no evidential value. For the prosecution, they were evidence of a complete lack of respect for women.
WHO DO YOU BELIEVE?
Inside Court 12: the complete story of the Belfast rape trial
by Conor Gallagher - The Irish Times https://twitter.com/ConorGallaghe_r