IRELAND RUGBY CAPTAIN Rory Best was told to attend a rape trial of two international teammates in Belfast by a barrister involved in the trial, a court has heard.
Best attended the trial of Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding, who both deny raping the same woman in a house in south Belfast in June 2016.
Judge Patricia Smyth told the jury of nine men and three women that Best had been asked by a senior barrister to attend the hearing at Belfast Crown Court last week.
Judge Patricia Smyth said: "The only reason that Mr Rory Best was in this courtroom was because he was directed to be here by senior counsel.
"That's the reason he was here. That's the only reason. I think you should know that."
The judge also referenced press coverage of Mr Best's attendance.
She said: "You may have been aware of press coverage about the attendance at this trial of Mr Rory Best."
Judge Smyth added that it may have been "hard" not to be aware of the coverage.
The Ireland captain told press last week that he did not “need permission” to attend the trial.
The trial is in its sixth day and is continuing to hear evidence from the complainant in the case.