Rugby rape trial: Jury told their 'morals and emotions' are irrelevant as they prepare to decide verdict
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Rugby rape trial: Jury told their 'morals and emotions' are irrelevant as they prepare to decide verdict

JURORS in the rape trial of Ireland rugby stars Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding have been told to ignore "emotion and prejudice" when deciding their verdict.

Summing up, Judge Patricia Smyth said they should put aside feelings and consider all of the evidence dispassionately.

Speaking to the 11-person jury this afternoon, she said: "The morals of any person involved are completely irrelevant. Emotion and prejudice - they have no part to play in your deliberations.

“You are the sole judges of the facts. It is for you to decide what evidence you accept and what evidence you reject.

“You will form your own judgment.

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“You must decide the case only on the evidence presented before you.”

The eight men and three women of the jury were also told to apply common sense and life experience in making their judgement.

While allegations of sexual assault may arouse "wholly understandable" emotions, Judge Smyth warned: “It is important that you guard against prejudice or sympathy against or for anyone in this case.”

Adjourning the trial for the day, Judge Smyth told the jury to ignore media coverage of the case.

"Do not read anything in the media," she added. "It is irrelevant."

Paddy Jackson and his Ulster and Ireland teammate Stuart Olding are accused of raping the same woman in Mr Jackson's Belfast home, in the early hours of June 28, 2016.

Two other men have also been charged in connection with the case.

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Jackson, 26, of Oakleigh Park in Belfast, denies one charge of rape and another of sexual assault.

Olding, 25, from Ardenlee Street in the city, also denies rape.

Blane McIlroy, 26, from Royal Lodge Road in Belfast, denies exposure, while Rory Harrison, 25, from Manse Road in Belfast, has pleaded not guilty to perverting the course of justice.