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Friday 21 September 2018

Jackson life 'blighted for 20 months' by allegations - lawyer

Defendant Paddy Jackson
Defendant Paddy Jackson

Rugby player Paddy Jackson's life has been "blighted" for almost two years by the rape allegations, his lawyer has said.

Brendan Kelly QC described the evidence against the sportsman as "untruthful and inconsistent".

Summing up the evidence yesterday, Mr Kelly warned the jury at Belfast Crown Court not to pay attention to the headlines.

"We have got this headline of rugby player every day. Rugby rape.

"But if you scratch the surface of this man, Paddy Jackson, you start to see a bit more. You get to see what he is," said Mr Kelly.

"The question is, does the quality of this evidence with its untruths and central inconsistencies, does it deserve a conviction of this gravity?

"Twenty months of his life have been blighted by evidence of this poor quality.

"Each time evidence was checked, each time evidence came from a video or another source, the complainant's account fell."

Character

Mr Kelly told the jury that Mr Jackson had not been obliged to take the stand in his own defence, but he chose to do so.

"A defendant need play no part in a criminal trial; some defendants choose to give evidence," he said.

"In this case, Mr Jackson and his co-defendants have all given evidence. No one has hidden.

"No one has tried to conceal. Everyone has got up, with their good character, and given their account."

Referring to Mr Jackson's success on the rugby field, Mr Kelly asked the jury not to hold that against him.

"He's not looking for special treatment. That's never been his pitch ever," he said.

"Don't fall into 'is he trying to play the rugby card?'

"He's not. The fact he played for Ireland, so what?"

He referred to CCTV footage from outside Ollie's nightclub in Belfast which showed Jackson standing with his hands in his pockets.

"The person you look at there is half-an-hour later turned into a marauding rapist," said Mr Kelly.

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