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Thursday, 22 February 2018

Rugby players trial hears most victims allow sexual assault to happen

Written by Lesley-Anne McKeown

Most victims of sexual assault allow the attack to happen, a forensic medical expert has told the rape trial of two Irish rugby players.

Janet Hall, who has extensive experience of dealing with the victims of sexual assault, was asked by a prosecution barrister whether the majority resisted.

She told Belfast Crown Court: "No, I think the evidence is overwhelming that it is allowed to happen."

Dr Hall was called to give evidence by the defence team for Ulster and Ireland fly half Paddy Jackson.

She questioned the findings of a doctor who had identified a tear in the vaginal wall of the complainant during an intimate medical examination hours after the alleged attack in June 2016.

Dr Hall viewed a DVD recording of the examination, the court heard.

She said: "The video does not show me where the laceration was. It just showed me a pool of blood."

However, she noted that lighting in the recording had been of poor quality.

She said there were four areas of the vagina that were commonly injured during a sexual assault.

Vaginal wall injuries were not common, she added.

"Dr (Philip) Lavery makes no mention of these in his report and that's an omission, in my view," said Dr Hall.

She later added: "Any injury can occur but vaginal wall injury is not common."

Quizzed by Jackson's defence barrister Brendan Kelly QC about potential causes of internal injuries, Dr Hall said: "If this injury was caused by a penis which used excessive force, I would have expected the other structures to have been injured as well before the penis got into the vagina.

"If there was that amount of force it is hard to believe one injury happened inside and no injuries happened on the protecting structures outside."

The doctor also expressed confusion at the presence of a laceration that had been bleeding for 14 hours.

She said: "I would have been concerned about that quantity of bleeding persisting from an injury. Injuries heal quite quickly in this area."

Jackson (pictured), 26, from Oakleigh Park in Belfast, and Stuart Olding, 24, from Ardenlee Street, Belfast, deny raping the woman at a party in Jackson's home on June 28 2016.

Jackson also denies a further charge of sexual assault.

Two other men are also charged in connection with the incident. Blane McIlroy, 26, from Royal Lodge Road, Ballydollaghan, Belfast, denies exposure and Rory Harrison, 25, from Manse Road, Belfast, denies perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

The case continues.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Liam McBurney / PA Wire.