Application to lift reporting restrictions on Belfast rape trial to be heard

Media bid to lift restrictions on legal argument in rape trial set for Wednesday

 Paddy Jackson leaving  Laganside Magistrates court on March 15th. Photograph: Pacemaker.

Paddy Jackson leaving Laganside Magistrates court on March 15th. Photograph: Pacemaker.

 

A media application to lift reporting restrictions on the rape trial of Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding will be heard on Wednesday.

Following the completion of the trial two weeks ago, which saw all four accused acquitted, Judge Patricia Smyth ordered there should be no reporting of the legal argument which took place during the trial in the absence of the jury.

The purpose of reporting restrictions on legal argument is generally to prevent a jury being prejudiced by material heard in its absence. Such restrictions typically fall away after a trial once a jury has been discharged.

After the verdict several media organisations, including The Irish Times, objected to Judge Smyth continuing restrictions post-trial.

On Monday, Gerry Simpson QC, acting for the media, said there was “no basis” for the continuation of restrictions.

Stephen Toll, who represents Mr Jackson, said he was concerned the human rights of the defendants “and other persons” may be affected by the issue.

Mr Jackson and Mr Olding were acquitted of all charges. Rory Harrison and Blane McIlroy were also acquitted of related charges.