A leading forensic medical expert has voiced concerns over the finding of an internal injury in a young woman some 14 hours after she claimed she was raped by two international rugby players in July 2016.
She told Belfast Crown Court if she had found such an injury still bleeding, it would have given her “cause for concern” and would have immediately referred the patient for treatment.
However, she also said while bleeding injuries “are not common in this type of case”, she had in the past referred two such cases for treatment in hospital to stop the bleeding.
The concerns of the doctor, now semi-retired, came as she was giving evidence on behalf of the defence in the trial of Ireland and Ulster rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding, who deny raping the then 19-year-old woman.
She told the court she had reviewed the notes and a video of the examination carried out by a doctor at the Rowan sexual assault referral centre at Antrim Area Hospital, in which he documented a two to three cms internal tear which he said had been caused by blunt force trauma.
Questioned by defence QC Brendan Kelly, the doctor said while a video showed an examining instrument in place, it was not noted in the notes, and although blood could be seen, there was no indication as to “where that blood was coming from”.
Asked the purpose of such recordings, she replied it gave a visual confirmation of any findings, “and as we all know that a picture tell the whole story more than any number of words”.
However, the doctor claimed the video in this case “did not show me where the laceration was ... it was just a pool of blood”, and went on to explain there was no note of whether or not the blood was the result of menstrual flow, which could be intermittent.
She added that she would have liked to have seen the blood from the alleged injury “swabbed away” so that she could view the injury and ascertain if it was still bleeding.
It was then that the doctor said, that having thought of the evidence of the prosecution doctor “overnight”, any internal tear which was still bleeding “gives me cause for concern”, adding later that the blood, “leaves a question in my mind, could it still be menstrual”.
She went on to agree with Mr Kelly that the alleged external bruising found on the vagina, “may be of little relevance evidentially”, and that the site of its description did not appear to coincide with the video and that the purple discolouration seen on the video, may have been caused by “the light source” used to film it.