Rory Best confirms he will be character witness in rape trial of two teammates

Ireland and Ulster rugby captain Rory Best says he is to be a character witness at the trial of two teammates for rape.

Best, who led the Irish team to victory against France in the Six Nations tournament on Saturday, was spotted at Belfast Crown Court on Wednesday where Stuart Olding, 24, and Paddy Jackson, 26, are standing trial accused of rape.

The Ireland and Ulster rugby players are accused of raping the same woman at a property in south Belfast in June 2016. Jackson is also charged with sexual assault.

Speaking at a press conference after the match in Paris, Best was asked if the Irish Rugby Football Union had given him permission to attend the trial.

He told reporters: "We sign out on Tuesday night, Wednesday is our day off, so technically we don't need permission to do stuff on our own time.

"The reason I was there, it's on the record I've been called as a character witness.

"I was advised it was important to attend, so I got both sides of the story.

"Because it's an ongoing legal matter, I will make no further comment than that."

Fellow Lions, Ireland and Ulster star Iain Henderson were also seen at the court last week.

Ireland and Ulster winger Craig Gilroy was also present at the trial on Wednesday, as was Ulster prop Kyle McCall.

Alliance Party Northern Ireland Assembly member Paula Bradshaw said she had written to Ulster Rugby asking what guidance was provided to its team members in relation to attending the rape trial.

Olding and Jackson deny the charges.

-Press Association & Digital Deskj

Related Articles

Friend of accused in rugby rape trial claims alleged victim 'did not appear to take her eyes off' Paddy Jackson

Rugby rape trial hears alleged victim went to police to stop it happening to someone else

'I got raped': Rugby rape trial hears texts sent to friends by alleged victim

Rugby rape trial: Witness says she 'closed the door, kind of laughed and said 'I have just seen a threesome'

More in this Section

'Stained, torn and dirty' - Number of complaints about state of Irish taxis doubles in one year

Man assaulted adult stepson and threatened to slit his throat in row over house and garden

Judge grants full trial transcript to family of man whose killer ate parts of his body

Woman admits carrying loaded gun at Connolly Station


Today's Stories

Cybersecurity experts warn on ‘whaling attacks’

Minister raises doubt over chances of repealing 8th

Children in two unmarked graves: Shame of what lies beneath

Laws aim to ban reselling tickets above face value

Lifestyle

The biggest cancer killer will take your breath away

Hopefully she had an idea...

Power of the press: Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks discuss 'The Post'

More From The Irish Examiner