Pre-trial hearing into alleged rape case against Irish rugby stars 'to go ahead'

Pre-trial hearing into alleged rape case against Irish rugby stars 'to go ahead'

A pre-trial hearing into the alleged rape case against two Ireland and Ulster rugby stars will go ahead next week as planned, a lawyer told a court.

Paddy Jackson, 25, and Stuart Olding, 24, deny all allegations against them following an incident last year in Belfast.

A legal issue had thrown plans to test the strength of the prosecution evidence on October 17 into doubt.

On Monday presiding district judge Fiona Bagnall at Belfast Magistrates' Court established that it would be dealt with next week.

The alleged victim is not required to give evidence, a lawyer said.

Olding, of Ardenlee Street, Belfast, is charged with two counts of rape.

Jackson, from Oakleigh Park, Belfast, is accused of one count of rape and one of sexual assault.

The offences are alleged to have been committed against the same woman in Belfast in June 2016.

Fly-half Jackson has been capped for Ireland 25 times and centre Olding has played four times.

They are established stars for Ulster Rugby.

The Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby have said they will not play again until court proceedings conclude.

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