Rape trial of Ireland rugby stars told of 'significant inconsistencies' in alleged victim's accounts

Rape trial of Ireland rugby stars told of 'significant inconsistencies' in alleged victim's accounts

A DETECTIVE has told the rape trial of Ireland rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding there were “significant inconsistencies” in the alleged victim’s narrative of events.

The PSNI's rape crime unit officer took to the witness box at Belfast Crown Court earlier today.

They were being cross-examined by a barrister representing Mr Olding, who denies one count of oral rape.

Frank O’Donoghue QC asked: "Was it not apparent there were significant inconsistencies between what the complainant said to the Rowan [rape referral centre] and what she was telling the police?"

"Yes there were," the officer responded.

Differing or inconsistent accounts could be down to trauma, mistaken or fragmented memory, the court was told.

Mr O'Donoghue added: "But of course there may be another less plausible reason and sometimes it is deemed necessary to ask the witness."

The alleged victim was not asked to take part in a third ABE [achieving best evidence[ interview.

The officer, who has 20 years’ experience, said: "There was no decision made to take a further interview."

Earlier, the detective constable of the PSNI’s rape crime unit had been asked to explain why "crucial questions" were not put to the complainant.

Mr O'Donoghue suggested a lack of "important detail" was "crucial to the evaluation to ever put Mr Olding on trial".

The officer replied: "She gave us the detail of what she had and the detail she could give at the time."

During the woman’s first ABE interview two days after the alleged rape in June 2016, clarity was not sought about the oral sex allegation, it was suggested.

Mr O'Donoghue said: "In terms of the detail of the oral sex allegation, were there not a number of fairly obvious questions that could have been asked?"

The officer answered: "The object of the ABE interview is not about asking questions. It's about them giving their account.

"It's about them being comfortable and about them telling us what has happened in their own words."

Jackson, 26, and Olding, 24, deny raping the same woman at Jackson’s west Belfast home in June 2016.

Blane McIlroy, 26, denies one count of exposure, while Rory Harrison, 25, denies perverting the course of justice.