Northern Ireland

Stuart Olding legal costs claim 'without merit'

Stuart Olding Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The 25-year-old former Ulster and Ireland centre is now playing rugby in France

A lawyer representing former Ulster rugby player Stuart Olding has returned to court to try to recover the player's legal costs.

Mr Olding and Paddy Jackson, a former Ulster teammate, were unanimously found not guilty in March of raping a woman at a house party in June 2016.

At a previous hearing, Mr Olding's lawyers outlined why he should have his legal costs refunded in full.

On Friday, a prosecution lawyer opposed the application.

The lawyer made it clear she was not trying to "undermine the verdict" in the case.

However, she said it was right that the case went to trial and that there was a case to be answered.

No indication on judgement

She concluded that the application for costs was "without merit, and should be refused".

After listening to the legal arguments on both sides, the judge said she would reserve judgment on the issue.

She gave no indication as to when she would issue her judgement.

Mr Olding was not in court for the hearing.

Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption Paddy Jackson has made a similar court application to recover costs

After four weeks of the nine-week rape trial earlier this year, he was granted legal aid. He is now attempting to recover his other costs.

The mother of Paddy Jackson was in the public gallery for the hearing and his legal team were also in court.

Mr Jackson has made a similar court application to recover costs and his case was heard in May.

Mr Jackson and Mr Olding both moved to France after their contracts with Ulster were revoked last season.

Mr Olding's lawyer had previously told the court that the decision to prosecute him over the rape allegation had "destroyed" his reputation.

The lawyer also said Mr Olding had suffered a "huge financial detriment".

His lawyer argued that the prosecution was "flawed" and Mr Olding should have all of his legal fees refunded.

The 25-year-old former Ulster and Ireland centre is now playing in France, for Brive in the second tier of French rugby.

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