Belfast rape trial will not hear evidence until tomorrow

Jury has been told it will begin deliberations by late next week

 Paddy Jackson arrives at Belfast Crown Court. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Paddy Jackson arrives at Belfast Crown Court. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA

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The rape trial of Ireland and Ulster rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding will not hear any evidence today.

The jury was to begin hearing closing arguments on Wednesday morning but after a lengthy delay it was announced there would be no progress until Thursday.

Mr Jackson (26), of Oakleigh Park, Belfast has pleaded not guilty to rape and sexual assault in the early hours of June 28th, 2016 at a party in his house. Mr Olding (25), of Ardenlee Street, Belfast, denies one count of rape on the same occassion. Both men contend the activity was consensual.

Blane McIlroy (26), of Royal Lodge Road, Ballydollaghan, Belfast, has pleaded not guilty to one count of exposure while Rory Harrison (25), from Manse Road, Belfast, pleaded not guilty to perverting the course of justice and withholding information relating to the incident.

The jury of eight men and three women has been told it will begin deliberations by late next week.

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