Northern Ireland news

Paddy Jackson in bid to recover legal fees

 Paddy Jackson

An application by Paddy Jackson to recover his legal fees will be heard in Belfast Crown Court next month, it has emerged.

Mr Jackson (26) was acquitted of rape and sexual assault last month following a mammoth nine-week trial. Three other co-defendants - including Mr Jackson's Ireland and Ulster Rugby teammate Stuart Olding (25) - were also acquitted on charges they faced arising from an incident in Mr Jackson's south Belfast bedroom in June 2016.

It is understood that Mr Jackson privately funded his defence and his legal bill amounted to over £100,000 which he had already settled.

However, he is seeking to retrieve this money and has made an application in an attempt to have these costs covered by the Public Prosecution Service.

A hearing in a bid to cover the legal costs has been scheduled to take in Belfast at 2pm on Friday May 18th.

Co-accused Stuart Olding had been covering his own legal costs at the start of the trial. However, half way through the trial his barrister asked that he be granted Legal Aid for the remainder of the hearing, as he no longer had sufficient funds to cover the costs.

After she asked to be provided with evidence of this - such as bank statements - Judge Patricia Smyth granted legal aid for Mr Olding.

The high profile trial which ran for 42 days was among the longest ever heard in Belfast.

It generated unprecedented level of public interest and sparked rallies and petitions in support of the complainant as well as the defendants in the case.

Reporting restrictions which had prevented publication of legal argument in the absence of the jury were lifted by Judge Smyth on Wednesday.

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