Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding trial: jurors told to put aside emotion in rape trial

Jurors in the rape trial of two Irish rugby internationals have been told to assess the evidence clinically and dispassionately.

In her summing up, Judge Patricia Smyth told the eight men and three women to set feelings to one side.

Rory Harrison, Stuart Olding, Paddy Jackson and Blane Mcilroy

Rory Harrison, Stuart Olding, Paddy Jackson and Blane Mcilroy

The judge said: "Emotion and prejudice will have no part to play in your deliberations."

The judge instructed jurors to "leave behind" any assumptions about stereotypes.

She said: "There is no stereotype for a rape, a rapist or a victim of rape."

There is also no stereotype for how someone reacts if they are the victim of a sexual crime, the court heard.

Paddy Jackson

Paddy Jackson

Any person who has been raped will have undergone trauma, the judge noted, and court experience showed it was "impossible to predict" how a person who has suffered trauma will react either in the following days or when speaking about the matter publicly.

"There is no classic reaction," said Judge Smyth.

"People react in different ways. Some people resist. Some people freeze. Others do not resist because of the circumstances."

The judge also said everyone had their own way of coping, with some people showing displays of distress while others do not.

Stuart OIding

Stuart OIding

She urged the jury not to assume that because someone is distressed they are telling the truth.

Warnings for jurors to ignore press and social media reports, in particular on Twitter, were repeated.

Judge Smyth said: "This is a court of law and the whole purpose of a trial is to determine whether a criminal offence has been committed."

She said the panel may have heard evidence of sexual activity which they may find "distasteful" but said "you must not jump to a conclusion".

She said: "The morals of any person involved in this trial are completely irrelevant. You must not allow yourself to be influenced by any view. You must consider all the evidence and decide whether you are sure of the defendants' guilt in each of the counts."

Reference was also made to WhatsApp messages which jurors may have found offensive, crude or derogatory towards woman. "It is important that you understand that even if a man holds a derogatory attitude of women that's not equivalent to the intention to have non-consensual sex," the court heard.

Judge Smyth said that the content of text or social media messages may be ill-judged and unrepresentative of the character of the sender.

She added: "You should also bear in mind that young men may brag about sexual matters which create an impression of sexual prowess but does not reflect reality." She invited the jurors to use their "common sense" when arriving at conclusions.