Judge urged to refuse legal costs to Stuart Olding

Former Ireland and Ulster rugby player acquitted earlier this year of Belfast rape

 Stuart Olding leaves court in Belfast on March 28th  after being found not quilty of a charge of rape. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images

Stuart Olding leaves court in Belfast on March 28th after being found not quilty of a charge of rape. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images

 

The judge who presided over the trial of Stuart Olding has been urged to refuse an application made on behalf of the former Ireland and Ulster rugby player to recoup his legal costs.

A fortnight ago, Mr Olding’s legal team launched an application for part of his legal costs to be reimbursed in front of Judge Patricia Smyth at Belfast Crown Court.

He financed his own defence for part of his trial on rape charges, before an application for Legal Aid was made, and subsequently granted.

A similar application has already been mounted by co-accused Paddy Jackson - who funded his own defence throughout - with the decision pending.

Mr Olding (25), formerly of Ardenlee Street in Belfast, was acquitted on March 28th on a charge of oral rape.

He and Mr Jackson were charged with raping a 19-year-old student in the bedroom of Mr Jackson’s south Belfast home following a night out in June 2016. Mr Jackson was also acquitted.

The application brought by Mr Olding’s legal team concluded on Friday, and after listening to submissions from both the Crown and defence, Judge Smyth reserved judgement.

Crown barrister Rosemary Walsh told the court there had been a lack of information provided to the court regarding Mr Olding’s finances.

Ms Walsh said that while it was up to the court to consider the financial circumstances of the applicant, despite “ample opportunity” to provide information on Mr Olding’s financial state of affairs, this has not been done.

She concluded the Crown’s case by telling Judge Smyth: “This cost application is without merit and should be refused.”

Following his acquittal in March, Mr Olding joined French side Brive and signed a two-year deal with the French side in May.