"The last thing I want is a girl crying leaving my house."- Paddy Jackson
The Belfast Rape Trial led to shockingly large media coverage, emotional social media comment and outraged street protest.
The nine-week trial ended in late March 2018, when the jury of nine men and three women unanimously served not guilty verdicts on all charges to all four men involved.
In 2018, 4 men, including Irish rugby stars Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding, were acquitted on all charges relating to an alleged rape. This is an insight into a trial that dominated public and private conversations. Listen online now or @RTERadio1 Sat@2pm https://t.co/pdKT0EBtrN
— Documentary On One, RTÉ Radio 1 (@RTEdoconone) November 23, 2018
Ex-Ulster and Ireland rugby players Stuart Olding and Paddy Jackson were found not guilt of rape and sexual assault at a house party in June 2016, leading to an onslaught of widespread criticism of how trials such as these are conducted.
Defendants Blane McIlroy and Rory Harrison were also found not guilty on all charges, with Irish rugby captain Rory Best facing critique for attending the trial itself. The hashtag #notmycaptain trended on Irish Twitter.
Two leading barristers in the case feature in the documentary, Toby Hedworth QC for the Prosecution and Brendan Kelly QC for Paddy Jackson.
The trial ended on March 28, but has remained in the headlines all-year-round, specifically regarding the #MeToo movement, as well as the recent rape trial in Cork.
Both trials have generated upsetting levels of scandal due to the introduction of female underwear as evidence. The Belfast trial saw the young woman's bloodied thong passed around the courtroom with 100 members of the public.
Las week, #ThisIsNotConsent went viral after the news hit regarding a rape trial in court where her underwear was used as evidence of her apparent consent.
— Susan O'Keeffe (@winnietheSu) November 14, 2018
Ruth Coppinger TD produced a thong in the middle of a Dáil debate to make a point about the treatment of witnesses in rape trials.
The Gillen Review Panel in Northern Ireland was published this week, and recommended numerous changes around serious sexual assault trials.
In the documentary, RTÉ One also spoke to members of the public who attended the Belfast rape trial.
Fair warning, Documentary On One: Notes From A Belfast Rape Trial is a very difficult listen. Narrated by Emer Horgan and Ronan Kelly, the listener of the documentary is faced with some quite graphic testimony.
I spoke with my colleague Ronan Kelly throughout the Ulster rugby rape trial. His observations were gripping. This should be necessary listening.
“Notes from a Belfast rape trial”https://t.co/fobrx2uyRA
— Philip Boucher-Hayes (@boucherhayes) November 23, 2018
That jury decided that they could not say, beyond reasonable doubt, that rape had taken place in Paddy Jackson’s house on that June night in 2016.
Anyone who feels affected by any issues contained within this documentary, please visit the RTÉ Support page for Helpline information
The first broadcast will be tomorrow, Saturday November 24 2018, on RTÉ Radio 1 at 2pm.
Feature image: JOE.co.uk