The jurors in Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding’s rape trial have been sent home for the night after their first day of deliberations.

The Ireland and Ulster rugby players deny raping a 19-year-old student at a party in Jackson’s south Belfast home in June 2016.

 

After weeks and weeks of evidence and closing speeches, the jurors were asked to begin their deliberations just before lunchtime.

Paddy Jackson is facing two charges; vaginal rape and sexual assault. Stuart Olding is accused of oral rape.

Their friend Blane McIlory denies one count of exposure and another friend called Rory Harrison is accused of perverting the course of justice and of withholding information.

Before sending the jurors out, Judge Patricia Smyth finished her summary of the evidence and she addressed the differences between the various accounts recalled by the defendants, which the prosecution claim supports their theory that a story was “cooked up” in case a complaint was made.

In relation to these differing accounts, Judge Smyth told the jurors it was up to them to decide if some or all of them are lying but she said just because an inconsistency exists, doesn’t mean they’re telling lies.

The jurors spent two hours deliberating before being sent home for the evening. They’ll resume tomorrow morning.