Ireland and Ulster rugby star Stuart Olding in court to deny rape

Ulster and Ireland rugby player Stuart Olding at Laganside Courts this morning.
Ulster and Ireland rugby player Stuart Olding at Laganside Courts this morning.
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Irish rugby international Stuart Olding has denied two charges of raping a woman in Belfast after appearing in court on Friday.

The 24-year old, from Ardenlee Street in Belfast, will face trial in the New Year on two counts of raping a woman on June 28 last year.

Olding will join his Ireland and Ulster team-mate Paddy Jackson (25) at Belfast Crown Court in January, where they will both stand trial on charges against the same complainant.

While Olding replied ‘not guilty’ when both charges were put to him today, Jackson - from Oakleigh Park in Belfast - appeared in the same court earlier this week, where he also denied both raping the woman and sexually assaulting her.

Two other men are also facing charges arising from the same alleged incident.

Blane McIlroy (25), from Royal Lodge Road in Belfast, was charged with, and denied, exposing his genitals on June 28 last year, ‘intending that someone would see them and be caused alarm or distress.’

Rory Harrison, who is also 25 and from Manse Road in the city, denied two charges, namely perverting the course of justice on dates between June 27 and July 1, and withholding information on dates between June 27 and October 5, 2016.

Earlier this week, Judge Patricia Smyth confirmed the trial date has been scheduled for January 22, 2018.

After entering his ‘not guilty’ pleas, Olding was released on continuing bail.

All four defendants will return to Belfast Crown Court for their trial in the New Year.