Ireland rugby stars Jackson and Olding deny raping woman
Two Ulster and Ireland rugby stars accused of rape deny all allegations against them, a court has heard.
Paddy Jackson (25) and Stuart Olding (24) were not at Belfast Magistrates Court yesterday when the case was brought before a judge for the first time.
Lawyers for the pair told the court they were not legally required to attend the hearing, which lasted less than 10 minutes. The court accepted this.
Mr Olding, of Ardenlee Street, Belfast, is charged with two counts of rape.
Mr Jackson, of Oakleigh Park, Belfast, is charged with one count of rape and one of sexual assault.
The offences are alleged to have been committed against the same woman in Belfast last June.
Lawyers for Mr Jackson and Mr Olding told the court the pair denied all the allegations.
They also requested copies of photos and videos related to the case from the Public Prosecution Service.
The Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby have said that Mr Jackson and Mr Olding will not play again until the court process is at an end.
Given the length of time proceedings take in Northern Ireland, it is likely that both players will miss all the forthcoming season at least.
The pair were arrested and questioned last summer.
Last month the Public Prosecution Service decided they had a case to answer and summons were served.
Charges against two other men connected with the case were also lodged with the court in their absence.
Blane McIlroy (25), of Royal Lodge Road, Ballydollaghan, Belfast, and Rory Harrison (25), of Manse Road, Belfast, also opted not to attend the hearing.
Mr McIlroy is charged with one count of exposure, and Mr Harrison is charged with perverting the course of justice and withholding information.
Their legal teams told the court they also denied the charges.
Fly-half Mr Jackson has been capped for Ireland 25 times while centre Mr Olding has played four times. The case was adjourned until September 6.