Northern Ireland news

Prosecutors in rape case against rugby players 'have complied with all timetables for producing evidence'

Paddy Jackson (left) and Stuart Olding 
Michael McHugh, Press Association

Prosecutors in the rape case against two Ireland and Ulster rugby stars have complied with all timetables for producing evidence, a lawyer for the state said.

No material is known to be outstanding and the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) rebutted earlier claims that documents had been delivered in a "piecemeal" fashion.

Paddy Jackson (25) and Stuart Olding (24) deny all allegations against them following an alleged incident last year. A hearing to test the strength of the evidence is planned next month.

A prosecution service barrister said: "It was submitted that some papers have been served in a piecemeal fashion.

"The prosecution don't accept that and indeed we would say that we have complied with the timetables that have been directed by the court in terms of the service of the papers."

She said it had also been claimed on a previous occasion that papers remained outstanding.

"As far as I am aware there is nothing outstanding."

Olding, of Ardenlee Street, Belfast, is charged with two counts of rape.

Jackson, from Oakleigh Park, Belfast, is accused of one count of rape and one of sexual assault.

The offences are alleged to have been committed against the same woman in Belfast in June 2016.

Fly-half Jackson has been capped for Ireland 25 times and centre Olding has played four times.

They are established stars for Ulster Rugby.

The Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby have said Jackson and Olding will not play again until court proceedings conclude.

It is likely both will miss this entire season at least.

Charges against two other men connected with the case have also been lodged with the court.

Blane McIlroy (25) from Royal Lodge Road, Ballydollaghan, Belfast, is charged with one count of exposure.

He has changed his legal team and his new lawyer received all documents on Monday, the court was told.

Rory Harrison, also 25, from Manse Road, Belfast, is charged with perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

The case was adjourned until next month.

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