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Ireland 'I think I was used' - Rory Best 'regrets' appearance at Belfast rape trial

08:50  23 january  2020
08:50  23 january  2020 Source:   independent.ie

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Former Ireland captain Rory Best has expressed regret for appearing at Belfast Crown Court on the first day the young woman gave evidence in the rape trial of Paddy Jackson and Stuart “ I ’ll be the first to admit that I was unbelievably naive to think that wasn’t the way that it would be brought across.

The former Ulster and Ireland rugby captain Rory Best has said he regrets attending the rugby rape trial in Belfast in 2018. "That is one of the things that I am sorry for," he said. "It was never, never my intention to cause any more distress on what was a very, very difficult day for that poor girl anyway."

a baseball player holding a racket: Rory Best Rory Best

Former Irish rugby captain Rory Best has admitted that he regrets appearing at the Belfast rape trial two years ago, where he was called to act as Paddy Jackson’s character witness.

While Best did not act as a character witness in the end, he was photographed at court days before Ireland's Six Nations match against France, prompting a social media backlash.

Former Ulster Rugby stars Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding were acquitted of rape after a nine-week trial in 2018.

Speaking on Off The Ball on Newstalk, Best said that he felt “used” by Mr Jackson’s defence team.

The rugby player said that he is a “trusting person” in nature and that he felt used.

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Months after it ended, the “ Belfast rugby rape trial ”, as it became known, is still disturbing public debate in “ I think I just saw a threesome.” Downstairs, McIlroy asked her to have sex with him. The Irish rugby captain, Rory Best , was in court on the first day of the young woman’s evidence, and the

Mr Jackson is alleged to have raped and sexually assaulted the then 19-year-old Belfast student in his A fourth man, Rory Harrison, is accused of trying to cover up the alleged rape by giving police a misleading statement and I was up for it. Stupid little girl who has done something, then regretted it.

“I look back now and I do think I was used, I didn’t ever think that that would be the case.

“It suited the defence to have me there.

“And that is the bit that in hindsight, it was bad advice for me to be there. I was naive enough to think that I could go as a friend,” he added.

Iain Henderson, Rory Best are posing for a picture: Ulster Rugby's Iain Henderson and Rory Best pictured at Laganside Magistrates court  Picture: Pacemaker. Ulster Rugby's Iain Henderson and Rory Best pictured at Laganside Magistrates court Picture: Pacemaker. He said that he was advised by Mr Jackson’s legal team to appear as a character witness but failed to seek independent legal advice.

“That was more mistakes because when you are a reasonably trusting person you think that, ‘oh well look if they’re saying this then it must be for my benefit’, when it turned out it wasn’t,” he explained.

“It turned it into a circus and it put a lot more pressure on something that was very sensitive.

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regretted it' Rugby r . ape trial hears text exchanges between accused and friends.Two men charged in connection with the their friends' arrests, a court heardPaddy Jackson, Stuart Olding, Blane McIlroy and Rory Harrison Stuart Olding, Blane McIlroy And Rory Harrison Arrive At Belfast Crown Court

I was raped . I don't think I can make myself much clearer." 'Petrified'. Mr Kelly also put it to her that she had become willingly involved in something that she later regretted . Rory Harrison, 25, of Manse Road, Belfast is charged with perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

“And that is the thing that I definitely regret the most, to turn a magnifying glass on it like that. You live and learn and that was a big thing to live and learn,” he added.

Even though the judge had informed the jury that Mr Best was at court after the advice from senior counsel, he added: “While I was directed, ultimately I should have at least gotten independent advice and that’s my mistake and I hold my hands up to that.”

In the end, Mr Best did not act as a character witness.

“I think for those reasons, that, because it turned into something that they didn’t want, it turned into about rugby and about the pressure being applied from the rugby fraternity and they said that it kind of took the decision out of my hands,” Mr Best said.

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