Northern Ireland news

Review of rape trials in the Republic 'delayed by months'

Justice minister Charlie Flanagan ordered a review last year into the handling of rape cases in the Republic. Picture by Brian Lawless, Press Association

A REVIEW into rape trials in the Republic, commissioned in the wake of the Belfast rugby rape case, has been delayed.

The review had been expected to make its first report yesterday. However, this will not be completed until the first quarter of this year.

Justice minister Charlie Flanagan had ordered a review into the legal protection offered to complainants in sexual assault cases in the wake of the Belfast trial.

Former Ireland internationals Paddy Jackson (26) and Stuart Olding (25) were found not guilty of raping the same woman at a house in Belfast in 2016.

Jackson was also acquitted of a further charge of sexual assault.

Although the case happened in a different jurisdiction, thousands of protesters took to the streets in the Republic to highlight concerns over how such trials are handled by the state.

Mr Flanagan said the group has "made considerable progress in... examining the complex and sensitive issues surrounding witnesses in trials of sexual offences".

He added: "I look forward to receiving the group's report as soon as it is finalised, which is likely to be around the first quarter of 2019."

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