Rugby rape trial: Alleged victim refutes claim her memory was clouded by alcohol

Update 6.50pm: A woman who accused two Irish rugby internationals of rape has refuted claims that her memory was clouded by alcohol or an unwillingness to accept reality.

The woman was giving evidence to Belfast Crown Court for a seventh day.

Arthur Harvey QC, representing Blane McIlroy - who denies a charge of exposure, told the court: "Your memory of the incident is either clouded by drink or clouded by an unwillingness to acknowledge what happened. That simply, you had sex with a number of men after going to their home without an invitation.

"You went up to a bedroom when there were girls down below. Any call that you would have made that night would have been heard. If you had called out for help or assistance, it would have been heard by three girls."

Blane McIlroy.

The high-profile case has entered its third week.

The complainant has previously been cross-examined by barristers for three other men charged in connection with alleged incident in June 2016.

Paddy Jackson, 26, from Oakleigh Park in Belfast, and his Ulster and Ireland team mate Stuart Olding, 24, from Ardenlee Street also in the city, deny raping the same woman.

Jackson denies a further charge of sexual assault.

Rory Harrison, 25, from Manse Road in Belfast, denies perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

There were a number of tense exchanges with McIlroy's barrister, who raised questions about discrepancies in accounts provided by the complainant to rape crisis centre professionals, the police and court.

"You have an easy facility of moving from truth to untruth, or falsehood and self-delusion," Mr Harvey said.

When the woman asked if the lawyer was calling her "delusional", Mr Harvey added: "Self delusion is when you refer to a version of events that do not correspond with reality."

The complainant said: "I disagree with that."

Earlier, she refuted suggestions she had engaged in consensual sexual activity with McIlroy.

She had "started kissing" him; masturbated and briefly performed oral sex, according to Mr Harvey.

"No, that's completely incorrect," the woman responded. "That never happened."

In another question, the lawyer stated: "You had your hand on his (McIlroy's) penis and you put it in your mouth?"

However, the woman answered: "That never happened. I do not know why your client is stating that it did."

She later added: "Mr Harvey, I was raped. This is a rape case. If Mr McIlroy had touched me, I think I would have made that abundantly clear to the police."

When the barrister suggested memory gaps had been filled with "activity" she was reluctant to disclose, the woman replied: "Because it never happened."

Earlier, the complainant was quizzed about the moment McIlroy entered Paddy Jackson's bedroom, where the attack is alleged to have happened.

Standing at over 6ft, he was in the doorway and was "naked", the court heard.

He was "extremely intimidating", the woman said, adding that she had to "push" past him.

The complainant was in the witness box for several hours and had to be given a break on a number of occasions.

The barrister said: "When you look at your account of these events, your memory is not only fractured but it is ragged in relation to very significant and important parts. Do you understand that?"

The woman answered: "I understand what you are saying."

Friends of the alleged victim consider her "very" determined, the court was also told.

The woman was asked whether friends thought she was mature, self-reliant, self-assured, determined and intelligent.

Answering "yes" as each adjective was relayed to the 12-person jury, the woman responded "very" when a barrister for one of the four defendants said the word "determined".

When the lawyer questioned if she was considered intelligent, she replied: "That's a matter of opinion."

There were some tense exchanges between the woman and Mr Harvey during a lengthy evidence session at Belfast Crown Court and the woman was given several breaks.

At one point she was questioned about her use of the third person narrative when describing events from the alleged rape.

Mr Harvey told the court it was like she was "repeating something she had read" rather than experienced.

"I am trying to make it applicable to anyone here," she replied.

Mr Harvey added: "Trying to make it applicable that every rape victim feels like this."

Later, she told the lawyer she would not engage in a row over "grammar".

She said: "I am not going to argue with you over grammar. You are not going to put words into my mouth."

The woman has been giving evidence from behind a curtain which blocks her view of the court.

The four defendants and packed public gallery have watched her testimony on a screen.

The trial continues.

Update 1.46pm: Latest: Alleged rugby rape victim creating narrative to serve her case, court told

A woman at the centre of a rape trial involving two Ireland and Ulster rugby players has created a story to suit her case, a court has heard.

The complainant was being cross-examined by a barrister for Blane McIlroy, who is accused of exposure.

The lawyer also suggested to Belfast Crown Court that the woman's memory of events was fractured, frayed and ragged.

Arthur Harvey QC said: "You have a capacity to start off with a basic fact such as 'I was in the taxi' to create a narrative which you believe personally serves the case that you are seeking to make?"

Twenty-six-year-old McIlroy, from Royal Lodge Road, Ballydollaghan, Belfast, denies the single charge against him.

During further questioning, the complainant, who was in the witness box for a seventh separate day, admitted her recollection of the night was in parts "hazy".

Mr Harvey said: "There's not a narrative which is clear and precise."

She said: "I would not use the words fractured or frayed.

"There are moment that are slightly hazy."

No one could be expected to remember everything from a night out, she told the court.

Three other men are also charged in connection with the incident in June 2016.

Twenty-six-year-old Paddy Jackson, from Oakleigh Park in Belfast, and his Ulster and Ireland team mate Stuart Olding, 24, from Ardenlee Street also in the city, deny raping the same woman.

Jackson denies a further charge of sexual assault.

Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding.

Rory Harrison, 25, from Manse Road, Belfast, also denies perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

The trial has previously heard the alleged attack happened at an after-party in Jackson's home following a night in the VIP area of a Belfast club.

Meanwhile, the woman was also quizzed about comments she made about three girls who had also attended the party, as well as her reasons for leaving.

In a text to a friend the morning after the alleged rape, the woman described the girls' behaviour as "slutty", the court heard.

Mr Harvey said: "Did up tell (your friend) they were behaving in a slutty manner?"

The woman answered: "I cannot recall the exact words."

Probing further Mr Harvey said: "Is that what you thought?"

The complainant said: "There were a number of reasons.

"Yes, the behaviour is not something that I would have partaken in."

The defence barrister said: "Being upstairs in a bedroom indicates behaviour that's more proper than three girls taking selfies. Is that what you are saying?"

The woman responded: "Those are not my words. Those are your words.

"I am saying that I didn't want to take photographs sitting on those guy's knees."

The case continues.

Earlier: Cross examination of rugby rape victim begins

A woman who claims she was raped by two Ireland rugby players is continuing to be cross-examined.

Paddy Jackson and his Ulster teammate Stuart Olding deny raping her at a party at Jackson’s house following a night out in June 2016.

The woman’s cross-examination resumed today with Arthur Harvey taking to his feet to ask questions on behalf of his client Blane McIlroy.

The 26-year-old from Royal Lodge Road is facing one count of exposure.

Mr Harvey began by asking her if she has re-read the transcripts of her police interviews before and during trial and she confirmed she usually reads them the Sunday before coming back to court.

He put it to her that her memory of the night is “fractured” and “fried” and she accepted there are moments that are “slightly hazy”.

He also put it to her that the girls she claims invited her back to the party at Paddy Jackson’s house didn't actually do so. She said that wasn’t her recollection.

Mr Harvey accused her of drawing logical conclusions to confirm a narrative she wanted to present as true. She told him this isn’t a construction.

Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding deny raping the woman. A fourth man called Rory Harrison from Manse Road in Belfast denies perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

- Digital Desk

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