O Captain, #NotMyCaptain

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From top: Ireland and Ulster captain Rory Best at a press conference in Paris yesterday; Gormla Hughes

Getting my hair cut last week, I was asked, when I said I loved running in the dark, was I not afraid something might happen to me.

I said no – my age deems me invisible and experience had already taught me that the likelihood of being sexual harassed or assaulted was far higher, by someone I knew. But of course, there are exceptions. I know this too.

When #NotMyCaptain started trending, I read the comments about Rory Best, OBE, captain of the Irish Union International Rugby team, attending the courtroom the day the alleged victim was giving her evidence.

Two thoughts immediately sprung to mind; the first, that his presence that particular day was, without question in my opinion, an orchestrated strategy and second, I remembered Brian Murphy—the young man beaten until he died, a mere thirty seconds later, outside Club Anabel, 30 August 2000, by four former Blackrock College students, a place well known for its tradition of producing excellent rugby players.

At the time, newspapers spoke of these young men in glowing terms, men with bright futures ahead of them. Even the judge, in his sentencing statement said he did not want to cause any reputational damage to them by being too harsh for a night that was obviously just a bit of drunken madness—a statement dangerously close to assertions made about men who physically harm or rape women.

[Language such as ‘bright future’ attached to privileged young men, subliminally excludes women, any person of colour or with a disability—with the class division widened with the use of terms such as ‘animals’ and ‘thugs’.]

In those days, I listened to the radio when I was driving. I remember being so angry and sad, in equal measure. I remember thinking there is no justice in this world, why bother reporting anything, when men and the privileged will be ‘looked after’ every time.

I also know, there is much invested in maintaining their reputation.

I went to a private school. A school closely linked to two well known ‘rugby’ schools. I would often hear the girls talking about what they were going to wear to a match the following weekend — and any girl who had an older sister who was able to pass on information as to where the players would be celebrating or commiserating after the match was given extra attention (eat your heart out Madame Bovary).

The school scarf of a rugby player was a prized possession, one that brought the wearer extra attention and favour. If a girl was lucky enough to be given one by her boyfriend, she was lauded – elevated to a place others strove to reach. It meant she had been chosen.

If the girl went out with him long enough to bring him home to meet her parents, she was elevated higher – rewarded by bringing her shopping for extra clothes, maybe even a sneaky manicure. Her father, boasting at work about who his daughter was dating tended to be received more warmly in the business world.

Social circles increase, favours are done for the parents of – for the players – for the teachers – for the coaches – for their supporters, business introductions, tips on how to avoid paying too much tax – a world where many blind eyes are turned.

Furthermore.

The more caps a player achieves, the more likely it is that he will walk into a management position, irrespective of his qualifications or intellectual prowess.

But, not only that, when they are being ‘tested’ for promotion in most corporations – being married is a BIG plus to put you ahead of your competitors for the position of partner, ceo or cfo – everyone knows this, and works it. Men may have their affairs and flings without impacting the trajectory of their career – if a woman does, its game over.

Even in the rugby and business world – her virtue is demanded – by the very men who entertain themselves at parties, by dabbling in a picnic basket of drugs and hiring sex workers to join them – men who are advocates and beneficiaries of the social division of women’s character between deviant and devout.

It is a cultural industry that most within it benefit from. And like every cultural setting, there are good people, bad people, assholes and perpetrators.

And if something happens?

We believe the law is above all of this. We believe truth will conquer all inside a court room. We fail to remember, every time, that many of the judges hail from this culture.

Except women—(well, most) women know otherwise.

Women have been indoctrinated in the anatomy of kindness – of turning the other cheek – of self-checking, self-blame, of breastfeeding all around her, of understanding that scandal and shame gets you ostracised and if that happens you won’t be able to access a piece of the pie.

And in the meantime…

Men encounter few meaningful consequences for their actions against women in this world, particularly those centred in the world of privilege – so it was the reaction to Rory Best’s conduct that actually took me by surprise.

When counsel for the accused asked the alleged victim what she knew about rugby and its players and their social standing, I knew absolutely nothing had changed.

I also know—#TimesUp

Gormla Hughes is an essayist and you can follow her on Twitter @Paradisefound64

Top pic: AFP

Previously: Shoulder To Shoulder

199 thoughts on “O Captain, #NotMyCaptain

  1. The Ghost of Starina

    as it has been, so it shall be. Look at OJ Simpson. or those young men in the States who passed around a video of them sexually assaulting a girl and got off cos of their “promising careers”. Sports above all. This girl in the court was right to be dubious that she could win a case “against Ulster Rugby”–I just hope the right thing is done this time.

        1. anne

          Why is that? Are we allowed form an opinion about a girl being raped?
          Are you saying a rape is only a rape until a jury are convinced of it beyond a reasonable doubt?

          1. ahjayzis

            I get what you’re trying to say here, I think. Trials for rape are problematic and we should be understanding and listen to accusers.

            But you’re not arguing that any accused man is a rapist until proven innocent are you?

          2. Anne

            Someone posted this on the ‘shoulder to shoulder’ thread..

            I agree with it.. Specifically this –

            In short, the presumption of innocence is a procedural protection to ensure fairness – not a moral imperative. This is why we do not automatically convict and sentence a self-admitted murderer whose crime is clearly captured on video.

            Even where guilt is plainly obvious, proper procedures must be followed and the prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. But the presumption of innocence does not mean someone is factually blameless until proven otherwise.

            http://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/presumption-of-innocence-1.4509334

          3. Milton Friedman

            So, that is a no. Someone accused of rape should always be labelled as one, even if they are acquitted in a court of law. Sounds like we are back to medieval times where someone can shout ‘Witch!!’ and thus be burned at the stake.

          4. anne

            Well not quite .. but let’s put it this way, if they’re acquitted would you be ok with your daughter or sister going back to their place for a few after hours drinks?

            I don’t see why this girl would lie, go you? They may well end up being acquitted.. they are showing CCTV of her with her arm around one guy & she briefly touches off another in the club.. The implication being she musta been asking her it till she bleed from the roughness of it?

          5. lmildred st. meadowlark

            This very thing happened when I was in school actually. A girl accused a boy in her year of rape. He was a nice lad with a ‘bright future’ and a long-time girlfriend. In the end, once the gardai were involved, the girl admitted that she had lied, made the whole thing up.

            He, and his family, went through an awful time because of this girl’s actions. He was completely innocent, and even still, it took years before people forgot this ‘stain’ on his character.

            I’m all for naming and shaming and punishing those who deserve it, but this young lad deserved none of the grief he had to put up with from his mid-teens to early twenties, considering he was the victim of a petty girl’s attention-seeking lies.

          6. Milton Friedman

            Yes quite, that is exactly what you are saying. You want to bring back a Scarlet Letter type of justice.

            Why would she lie? Would does anyone lie. The people who she was hanging around with before were actually members of the NI soccer team, not these rugby players. So, you don’t even know the basic facts of the case but automatically think they are Guilty because she is a woman and they are men. Think about that for a minute and realise your deep seated prejudice.

          7. anne

            I didn’t say who she was hanging out with… learn to read. I said what they’re showing in court from CCTV from the club.

            Their texts the next day to eachother are vile. I don’t need a guilty verdict to know what I think of them.

          8. Daisy Chainsaw

            If she’s the wannabe sports groupie the defence is trying to paint her as, wouldn’t being spitroasted by a couple of famous rugby players be a goal? Was her “needing to be comforted” afterward only the hysterical mania of bagging herself an Irish player? Her responses to texts have been consistent that what happened to her was done against her will.

            But, you know, she went to a party and kissed a guy she hardly knew so she got what she deserved, right?

          9. anne

            I don’t understand the judge allowing that CCTV footage.. it’s irrevelent in my opinion.

            If I gyrating against every Tom dick & Harry on the dancefloor in a club (not that she was) doesn’t mean I’m asking to be raped.. apparently these things need explaining.

          10. ahjayzis

            I’m not commenting on this case at all, I’ve not been following it.

            But rape trials, however we may criticise the adversarial nature of them, aren’t an administrative technicality.

            Men HAVE been falsely accused. Men’s lives HAVE been destroyed.
            And that can’t be some collateral damage we all just accept, that’s not justice or fairness or a rebalancing.

            https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/jan/30/met-police-and-cps-apologise-to-man-after-collapse-of-case

        2. Rob_G

          While I am not mad on the notion of the rugby captain attending his pal’s rape trial, I also think that people should withhold judgement on the defendants until the jury has decided.

          I also wonder if all the people commenting here on Best’s (possible) show of support for his friend were similarly exercised when Paul Murphy organised a nationwide campaign attempting to preempt the verdict of the jury when some of his pals were on trial for false imprisonment(?)

    1. Donk

      This just in

      Ireland rugby captain Rory Best was only in court for the rape trial in Belfast last week because he was directed by barristers to be there, judge tells the jury

      Bizarre

      1. SB

        You can be sure it was a barrister for the defence, who knew exactly the effect it might have in terms of appearance

          1. Daisy Chainsaw

            The context being that someone cobbled together an excuse for Best showing up “on his day off” that wasn’t just him and his Ulster rugby mates appearing on the (alleged) victim’s first day of evidence.

            I wonder could the learned barrister explain why that specific day was required and not previous or subsequent days? And what was he directed to attend for?

      2. Angie

        took A while to conjure up the reason why he attended the trial that day: why not fess up straight away as to why he was there: but too cloak and daggerish for my liking. What has this young woman got to gain by taking these men to court? But look at what these men have to lose if they admit guilt or are found guilty : it’s in their interest to stick to the story as they know well it’s their word against hers. It stinks and I have no doubt they will walk free because of the very reasons stated in the above article.

        1. some old queen

          Their teammate accompanied the 19 year old home in a taxi and checked that there was someone inside and even had a hug. xx. Lovely. xx. So sweet. xx. Absolute gentleman. xx.

          At that time of the night I expect he would be quite busy escorting single females home from every rugger party he attended.?.

  2. Donk

    Yes, rugby players can be put on a pedestal in Irish society. I find the Ryle Nugenty language used after a big win (warriors of men, heroes, lions) is cringeworthy. It’s sport, that’s it

    1. Yowzah

      surely its people representing their/our province/country are put on a pedestal. Rugby is popular so the pedestal has a bit more girth.

      1. ahjayzis

        Professional sportsmen represent themselves and the private company they play for. These aren’t local men sacrificing their Saturday morning for county and country.

      2. Topsy

        80 % of the current Irish (if u include the north) are from private schools. That does not represent Ireland.

  3. A person

    That is the most sexist article I have read in a long time. Equating a rape trial (which has yet to be decided) with a fight outside of a night club, with all rugby player are like that, is just wrong!

    1. TheRealJane

      She’s comparing privileged circles closing in to protect their members in scenarios where criminal charges have been brought.

      But you knew that. Why are you pretending to not understand?

        1. gerry

          She doesn’t say it is new. If fact the article says the exact opposite. Did you read before commenting?

  4. TheRealJane

    It’s very saddening. There is a concerted effort to fail to understand what many (including me) see as the problem with Rory Best here. I don’t know if it is because people want to relate to the big boys, be one of the lads, not a mangina/white knight beta or whatever the current turn of contempt for men who understand what women are saying when they speak in words.

    Also, I wasn’t keen on the idea of consent classes in universities, but these lads are graduates and from their texts, are clearly completely at sea.

  5. Aaaa

    Really good article overall. Does well at shining a light on the prestige that rugby players have within their communities. Of course other sports on a CV also have the ability to influence employers to hire someone. However the disproportionate amount of private schoolers in the upper echelon of society mean rugby players tend to get the best opportunities.

    On another note, with regards to the trial. What ever happened to innocent before guilty? Best said after the game that he was encouraged to go for the victims evidence so he could mull over it before giving a character reference for his team mates. I see a huge issue in the idea of a character reference in the first place, but I wouldn’t hang Best out to dry in this case. I also believe the victim was screened from the gallery so they couldn’t see who was in attendance – open to correction on this however.

    1. TheRealJane

      I think we all know that Best is guilty of turning up at this rape trial. We have photographic evidence and a clear admission. He totes did it, dude.

      1. b

        Francesca Comyn @cescacomyn
        5m
        Ireland rugby captain Rory Best was only in court for the rape trial in Belfast last week because he was directed by barristers to be there, judge tells the jury

        1. Daisy Chainsaw

          Best, Henderson and Gilroy in matchy matchy outfits turned up the day a young woman gave evidence against their mates.

          Best showing up himself supposedly on direction could be explained, but 3 of them turning up in a quasi uniform? #BrosBeforeHos

          1. Aaaa

            Valid point about the others that were there. They were hardly character witnesses also. Apologies for my naivety, but do you think all the Ulster rugby organisation should have been banned from the trial? With regards to the outfits: are you suggesting they went to try and influence the jury as opposed to just trying to support their teammates?

          2. Daisy Chainsaw

            I don’t know about trying to influence the jury, but as the woman said in her own texts as her reason for initially not wanting to report the gangrape – “It will serve no purpose for me but be embarrassing. Because nothing will happen, like they wouldn’t get done and they have the backing of Ulster rugby fgs.”

            Maybe we’ll get 50 members of Ulster Rugby to turn up and shake hands with the defendants before long.

  6. b

    Francesca Comyn @cescacomyn
    5m
    Ireland rugby captain Rory Best was only in court for the rape trial in Belfast last week because he was directed by barristers to be there, judge tells the jury

    so there you have it, the judge having to direct the jury to ignore an unrelated aspect of the case because some need to get a hasttag going or make some societal point on their blog or column

    1. TheRealJane

      I’m a little unclear. Does this mean that you think he ought to have done it and nobody should question it? This was advice from the defense barrister, hardly a neutral source and not one that he’s bound to obey. If it was all fine, why not brief the irfu and answer clearly when asked in the first instance?

      Also, would it have taken so long to cobble together an excuse if the lads hadn’t been at the match?

    2. Daisy Chainsaw

      If he was directed tobe there by barristers, why did Best himself say he went in on his day off? https://www.irishtimes.com/sport/rugby/international/rory-best-explains-reason-behind-attendance-at-trial-1.3379384

      Best was asked after Saturday’s game against France in Paris if he had sought any permission from the IRFU to attend the trial last Wednesday.

      “We sign out on a Tuesday night and Wednesday is our day off so technically we don’t need permission to do stuff in our own time,”

      1. Rep

        Because he did go on his day off? The question asked was did he get permission from the IRFU, the answer was that he didn’t need to as it was his day off.

        1. Daisy Chainsaw

          Surely his response should have been “I was directed by a barrister to attend” if that had indeed been the case, rather than sounding like a hastily cobbled together excuse for his actions. Were Henderson and Gilroy there by direction of the barrister too?

          1. Owen C

            Q: “did you seek any permission from the IRFU to attend”

            A: “Wednesday is our day off, so technically we don’t need permission to attend”

            He answered the question almost to the letter of what he was asked. Lots of valid criticism for other parts of his answer, but your attempt to make something out of the day off part are completely wrong.

    3. The Ghost of Starina

      not surprised he was told by barristers (presumably the defense) to be there that day — a tactic of putting pressure on the girl testifying that day.

    4. Percival

      “because he was directed by barristers to be there”

      Barristers can’t direct anyone to be at a court case. ONLY a judge can do that by issuing an order or warrant.

  7. Clampers Outside!

    “Men encounter few meaningful consequences for their actions against women in the world….”

    It is a fact that women encounter for less consequences before the law than men do for the same crimes.

    Let’s at least be honest about this, OK.

    1. Increasing_Displacement

      Dunno either way Clamps but one thing I can tell you is this article was a waste of time.
      Generalisation and bitterness all the way

      She deffo didn’t get a scarf

      1. Milton Friedman

        True, yet the vast majority of the victims of these crimes are men, not women. Your projection that men as some un-tamed beast that needs to be neutered is sexist in the extreme.

          1. anne

            can we have an ad, like the tracker mortgage one..for snowflakes. I still don’t know what a snowflake is..:-)

        1. anne

          I never said men need to be neutered.. go way out of it. I said more crime is committed by men than women..It’s in response to Clampers “facts”.

      2. ahjayzis

        More men commit suicide than women. Prostrate cancer survival rates are well behind that of breast cancer, as is the funding of screening. Women take more leave over the course of their careers than men. They cost more in pensions due to a longer life span.

        What is the point of making this a gender thing – it’s a scumbag -v- decent person thing.

        1. anne

          well more women attempt suicide.. And agreed but just responded to our resident anti feminist poster.

  8. Aley

    My god. Innocent until proven guilty. Best gave his reason for being there and while it seemed a bit convenient it made sense also. The Judge was asking her that in order to clarify the questioning of the defence who were trying to angle that if she did know who and what they were perhaps she was looking to get to socialise with them. Standard sort of stuff in this kind of case. They have to build a defence and this is part of it. All the armchair Lawyers and Judges out there have already decided the guilt of these men. I find this foolish. Terrible article overall. Of course we know about the privileged corners of Irish society. But it exists in other circles as well as Rugby. In my mind the main common demonstrator between those who are privileged in this country is Wealth. Forget about the rugby, hunting, shooting, GAA hierarchy, etc it is wealth that gives all these their status and power.

    The evidence doesn’t look good for the 4 boys up North but let the case play out and don’t be so convinced by things, the real detail of which you cannot be sure of or even know. And stop stuffing it down my throat.

    1. anne

      Jaazus, you could have pardoned the pun there… no one is stuffing anything down your throat. Unlike what the poor girl said happened to her.

    2. Killian G

      Doesnt look like you really get it Alley. Even descriibng them as “the 4 boys up North” is in line with what a lot of the article is about. Decribing them that way makes it sound like they are a bunch of little scamps. They are not “4 boys”. They are four adult men. Alleged Rapists, not rascals.

      1. Aley

        Arbitrary choice of word. Change it to males. Well done dismissing a whole argument based on the choice of a word and your over sensitive nature of what such a choice might mean. The article is dribbling nonsense and my choice of word can’t be the thing that disproves that fact. You don’t get it Pal ;)

  9. Aley

    “Said”

    Sorry Anne, my mind doesn’t work like that.

    Gulity! Gulity! Guilty! Best can’t do this, that and the other!!!

    Rugby and the New fupping world Order. Amateur analysis, shallow commentary.

    Right down my throat, I can hardly breath.

    1. anne

      Yes, that is what she said happened. The two accused also said it happened. The issue at hand is consent.

      Go relax yourself.

      1. Aley

        She said she was raped. They say otherwise. Your interpretation of a non existent pun is your own business.

        I’m relaxed, just don’t enjoy the nonsense that we’ve become expected to agree with. PC bullsh*t.

  10. Peter Dempsey

    I am looking forward to Gormla’s article on violent crimes perpetrated by the under-privileged working class. She might also comment on the lenient sentencing and the fact that many of these individuals are free to rack up dozens or even hundreds of convictions.
    At the weekend I went to the funeral of an old neighbour whose final years were lived out in fear. She was the victim of a savage burglary and was a shadow of her former self. The perpetrators did not go to Blackrock College.

  11. Joe Small

    Gormla Hughes has been completely discredited there, “without question in my opinion” – indeed. her opinion, in this instance, mustn’t count for much.

    Is it too much to ask someone to base an argument on facts rather than supposition?

  12. Frilly Nation : The Rupture is real

    you know
    as awful and grubby as all this is
    and off line I’ve had plenty to say about the soon to be former Irish Rubgee Captain
    and indeed that whole crowd n’ how they treat women

    However, we should all wait, all being commentators, columnists, and contributors etc from getting too provoked until there is a verdict

    otherwise we are all contributing to reasons why many many rape victims do not come forward and make a complaint

    everyone
    Shut da’ ..ck up

    Trust the Jury

    1. b

      indeed

      opinions are like bottoms etc

      just wait until there’s a verdict and everyone is free to drop keks wherever they want

    2. Aley

      You’ve shown your opinion and contradicted others. Then told everyone to shut up. Who died and made you king?

    3. Aley

      “I’ve had plenty to say about the soon to be former Irish Rubgee Captain
      and indeed that whole crowd n’ how they treat women”

      This is a contentious statement. And by telling everybody to shut up you are declining to allow a response. Autocratic comment and poor form.

      1. Frilly Nation : The Rupture is real

        No
        talk about rugbee and everyone in it, from Schools ta’ Provinces ta’ groping girls in Coppers all ye like

        but leave this rape trail alone
        until the verdict at least

        One thing tho
        this trail will be a turning point for future Rape Cases;
        on both sides of the Border
        how they are prosecuted and how they are reported
        and given that rape is a sex crime
        maybe its time for the Courts Service to consider the access the public have to the gallery and the risk the public spectacle of such a case presents to fair proceedings

        1. Aley

          If you read my comments I’ve said much the same about letting the court do its work.

          Your statement is related all the same. How women are treated by rugby folk etc, facts of the case are brought to mind here.

          1. Frilly Nation : The Rupture is real

            maybe to your mind
            but you’re here only for one ting

            keep a lid on it

            it being the Rugbee crowd taking their Shoulder to Shoulder mentality off the field and into a Court room

  13. Mike Oxlong

    “and indeed that whole crowd n’ how they treat women” – are you talking about rugby players or men in general?

  14. rotide

    The fantastic thing about paying no attention to the outrage torrent of twitter is that it’s entirely possible to be unaware of things as increadibly stupid as #notmycaptain.

    He’s not your captain. He’s the rugby teams captain. He wasn’t voted in or anything.

      1. Increasing_Displacement

        Well you seem to “figure that out all by yourself” as well such as the the guilt of the untried
        You’re pushing your guilty until proven innocent agenda hard
        You seem to make up your mind based on little to no info

        There’s posts related to this women on social media apps…
        One could make other conclusions about her based on what’s in them…trial by social media

        But that would be foolish…like the way you seem to form your opinions

      2. Increasing_Displacement

        Any before you lose the rag, I’m not saying it went either way.
        But I do think the fact she text the next day telling people is important…might take a while to compose yourself.
        I don’t know though.

  15. some old queen

    Ok so, why did the defence ask Best to attend? Also, why did the judge feel it was important to point this out?

    It also doesn’t explain the colour coordination of course. Who knew ruggers were so colour conscious? I mean did they have a conference call the night before to discuss what colours didn’t clash? Then there was the shoes of course.

    https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/judge-the-only-reason-rory-best-attended-rape-trial-was-because-he-was-asked-to-do-so-36568544.html

    1. TheRealJane

      It’s quite weird.

      The young woman sends texts which include her apprehension about reporting because of the influence of Ulster rugby. The defence team get the captain of the Irish rugby team and a couple of other to attend her cross examination. People question this decision. The judge says, in court, that there’s nothing to see here so shut your gobby faces, it’s all fine.

      I mean, this woman was pretty much correct. They are not neutral.

    2. Owen C

      The judge felt it was important to point out because of all the accusations that he only turned up to intimidate the witness. Whether people like it or not, there may have been a genuine and reasonable defense purpose for his attendance, so that whenever he may be required to give actual character testimony he’ll be able to do it as effectively as possible. But outrage sells, of course, so people will probably believe what they want to believe.

      1. Increasing_Displacement

        I don’t know why judge had to say that or felt compelled to
        Maybe some law type will know

    3. Aley

      The media storm his appearance has created needs to be addressed by the court as such commentary can prejudice the case for or against. As it has been impossible to avoid hearing about the commentary on this, the jury, who are not supposed to read or listen to any commentary during the trial, need to be put in the right direction by the Judge in accordance with the law.

      1. TheRealJane

        I’m imagining what this looks or feels like from the point of view of the defendant who expressed the initial fears. This is the kind of thing she was worrying about, the lads having words in the right ears, things moving along, actions which could be interpreted as disadvantaging her glossed over, minimized, explained away…

        1. Aley

          you are missing the point. Anybody is entitled to go to court to support/not support anybody. The only issue here is that it was the captain of the Irish rugby team. the media uproar was such that the judge felt the need to explain that Best was there at the behest of SC for the defence. In his own words here was there because he was asked to give a character reference and it was prudent to go to court to hear the whole story. The judge basically wanted to get away from the unnecessary distraction that was being caused by the Media

          Again he is entitled to go there in support of a team mate, in anger with his team mate or just out of interest in the case.

          There is no prejudice to the girl. nothing was explained away. There is noting that says that nobody can support a defendant. If they are guilty Best might regret his appearance but if innocent he will feel justified.

          They’ll go down if they are guilty.

          1. TheRealJane

            I’m not missing the point at all. I completely understand the point you are making. I’m making a different point, which is that even if the judge us technically fine doing this, it won’t be of any succor to the defendant who was concerned about the effect of the fame and popularity of the rugby players even before reporting.

          2. johnny

            why-he has no legal background its agriculture-providing a character reference is voluntary,was he goin try the case in his own ‘mind’,come to a conclusion based on his observations in court and background in farming?

    4. some old queen

      Thanks Owen and Aley.

      Still doesn’t explain the colours. I mean if it was a group of PSNI or guards were accused and the superintendent and their work mates turned in uniform, there would all sorts of accusations of abuse of position.

      Although in fairness I do notice that workplace uniforms are a lot more common in the north. It is apparently more professional although I can’t see it myself as most times it just looks stupid. No surprise where the love of uniforms comes from of course.

    5. some old queen

      Thanks Owen and Aley.

      Still doesn’t explain the colours. I mean if it was a group of PSNI or guards were accused and the superintendent and their work mates turned in uniform, there would all sorts of accusations of abuse of position.

      Although in fairness I do notice that workplace uniforms are a lot more common in the north. It is apparently more professional although I can’t see it myself as most times it just looks stupid. No surprise where the love of uniforms comes from of course.

          1. Killian G

            No it was not. Someone stated that on Broadsheet on the Telly last time out but it is not the case. They were both wearing brown trousers (of different shades) and dark tops (one a sweater, the other something else). I would think coincidence more than anything else. Even if not, those clothes have nopthing to do with Ulster Rugby. [I am not excusing them – I think their appearance was somewhere between stupid and disgraceful, but that thing going around about “the Ulster unform” is just incorrect]

          2. some old queen

            @ Killian. Ok so the 3 men were dressed in a similar colours.

            You can blame JR for the uniform thing. LOL

          3. some old queen

            Although I stand by the workplace uniform comment. People sitting in offices who will never meet clients.

            Dreadful authoritarian sh|te.

    6. George

      Best was asked to attend by the defence. That suggests he attended to assist the defence and makes it worse not better.

      1. GiggidyGoo

        He, according to the Judge, was ‘directed’ to attend by a barrister. Not being much of a legal eagle myself, but does that mean that Best was already signed up for the defense? That he didn’t attend just out of ‘my day off’ curiosity. That he is part and parcel of the proceedings.

        1. Owen C

          He has already agreed to give a formal character reference if required, and this is the ‘reason’ for his attendance (so he could hear proceedings for himself). Questionable whether this was really necessary, or simply whether it was a good idea by Best, but there is a reasonable justification for his attendance so the outrage is somewhat misplaced.

  16. Truth in the News

    Doe’s the presumption of innocence apply to the victim of the rape, from the line of questioning
    used in some cases it seems not.

    1. Aley

      The defence only need to prove a reasonable doubt against the prosecution. She has made the claim, she has given evidence. Therefore she is open to cross examination and all that it entails.

      The accused do not have to give testimony and do not even have to offer a defence. All they need to do is create doubt in the evidence of the prosecution.

      This is the system.

      1. anne

        A reasonable doubt doesn’t mean they didn’t do it… that’s how most people’s mind work I would think

        1. Owen C

          You can’t prove that they didn’t do it, unless the victim herself recants. All you can do is convince the jury to return a not guilty verdict. The case is not about proving they didn’t do it, particularly in this situation where it involves subjective opinions and consent.

          1. anne

            You could prove they didn’t rape her if there was some concrete evidence she consented.. As it is all there is is testimony and texts to confirm she was very upset.

          2. Owen C

            But what irrefutable, concrete, it-can-never-be-questioned evidence could there ever be that she consented (other than her saying as much)? That always the issue with proving a negative, and even more in a subjective “consent” case where it generally comes down to a mix of judgement and perception. That why it always comes down to simply reasonable doubt. Its not and never has been about “proving” their innocence, just about refuting their “guilt”. And as you have implied, whatever the verdict the court case returns, many people will have their own opinions on their “guilt” or otherwise.

          3. anne

            Concrete? A recording.

            I’m in agreement with you. Innocent until proven guilty is a legal definition.

          4. Owen C

            A recording would actually not be concrete. She could have been drunk or unable to express her lack of consent properly, these would not necessarily be picked up in a recording. Or vice versa (as below). The recording would only pick up what happened during the recording and not what happened in the lead up or afterwards, both potentially vital context for whether there was consent.

            eg1
            *off camera* “i’ll kill you if you don’t have sex”
            *on camera* seemingly giving consent

            eg2
            *off camera* “lets act out a rape scene”
            *on camera* no no no!

            The point is – consent is tricky to prove one way or the other, which is why so many rape cases end with not guilty verdict despite “damning” evidence.

          5. anne

            If this, if that.. Jesus.
            There is a possibility that you could have concrete evidence of consent or confirmation from the victim via text for instance of consent.

            It’d be pretty conclusive if she ran out of the house all giggles & smiles from the great time she had.. As it stands, a taxi driver is a witness to her being distraught. You also have texts from one of them saying “chin up”..

            It’s not all that difficult from my perspective to get that she did not consent.. i.e she was raped and forced to have sex with a bunch of animals till she bled.

        2. Aley

          Well that’s what puts people behind bars or back on the streets. The burden of proof is what a claimant has to prove.

          Otherwise people would be getting locked up for what you think. which isn’t much.

          1. anne

            I’m not referring to the courts & the burden of proof. I’m saying it’s a possibility that there are people who are found not guilty who did in fact commit the crime they were charged of and they are innocent people convicted of crimes they didn’t do also.

            I don’t suspend judgement of the facts because a jury are considering the facts.

            Their texts were vile. I think they’re a vile bunch of young men.. And I don’t need anyone telling me to think otherwise, thanks very much.

          2. Aley

            I’m not telling you to think otherwise. I am just telling you that your thinking contradicts reality.

          3. anne

            My thinking doesn’t contradict “reality”. A courtroom & legal definitions are not the reality of what occurred, nor do they dictate the reality of what occured.

            As I said, my own judgment is not suspended because a jury is hearing the details.

          4. Killian G

            So you are quite happy to form a conclusive opinion before you even hear the other side of the story Anne? Obviously an intelligent person.

          5. anne

            Yes. I read the texts..they’re vile. There’s no other side of the story to them.

            Listen, don’t bother interacting with me again..ta.

          6. Aley

            Anne, I’m going to have to stop you in your tracks. Innocent until proven guilty is a legal guarantee. Nothing to do with a definition. This is the issue here. You have to let the case unfold and objectively take everything into account once All the evidence is heard. Deciding from what you have read here and elsewhere shows great narrow mindedness. It is extremely difficult to prove these cases as only those involved experienced the reality of what happened. That reality has passed and the burden of proof and innocent until proved guilty beyond reasonable doubt is the reality now. It’s far from a perfect system and the whole situation is sad but you deciding the case here and now is not helpful to anybody and it would be a very dangerous precedent if adopted by the courts generally. For this reason your thoughts are no good to anybody and are in direct contradiction with the reality of the situation.

          7. anne

            What are you talking about “not helpful to anyone”. This is a website. You sound like the thought police.

            As I posted earlier –

            In short, the presumption of innocence is a procedural protection to ensure fairness – not a moral imperative.

            This is why we do not automatically convict and sentence a self-admitted murderer whose crime is clearly captured on video.

            Even where guilt is plainly obvious, proper procedures must be followed and the prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. But the presumption of innocence does not mean someone is factually blameless until proven otherwise.

            http://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/presumption-of-innocence-1.4509334

            Hopefully Best showing up when he did will backfire for his best shagger buddy legends. As the judge seems very aware could happen.

  17. Ambrose Houlihan

    What has been reported on the case so far, mainly being prosecution material, naturally paints the men in a bad light.
    One vital detail that most of the comments here fail to address is that the men accused do not deny that they had sex with the woman. The issue is consent.

    Drawing similarities to a dreadful miscarriage of justice from a few years ago simply because that crime was committed by men, who also happened to be rugby players, is pointless, short sighted and re-affirms the gender divide. Lets just see how the trial goes.

  18. cian

    Her father, boasting at work about who his daughter was dating tended to be received more warmly in the business world.

    Really? Is this true? Has anyone experienced a proud father telling his colleagues that his daughter is dating a guy on the senior cup team and the other chaps are all “high five” and “have a promotion”?

    ’cause I have an issue with this. If are all ex-rugby guys, then they know how the daughter is (likely) going to be treated. What father would like his daughter dating a SCT-Neanderthal? Surely you would commiserate with the father?

    1. The Ghost of Starina

      yeah, I’ve seen this atmosphere before. you’re underestimating “ah sure they’re all good lads” culture.

    2. edalicious

      If any of my colleagues went around telling people his daughter was dating a guy on a SCT, expecting some kind of respect or praise, he’d almost certainly get the exact opposite.

      1. Paddy at the Howth Summit

        If any of my colleagues went around telling people his son was dating a guy on a SCT, expecting some kind of respect or praise, he’d almost certainly get the an article in the Irish Times.

  19. johnny

    why could he not simply write a letter like Dónal Óg Cusack and David Walsh did for Irish Times hack,Humphries

    1. Aley

      Different case. Humphreys was a basket case. Donal Og had to step down from his position for writing that letter. He supported a persona non grata, not allowed in this or most countries. The present defendants aren’t in that category yet.

        1. Aley

          Humphreys pleaded guilty to defiling and inviting a child to engage in sex. He spent a substantial amount of time in psychiatric hospital before this. His guilt was not contested. They wrote letters in spite of all this. Very poor decisions. You couldn’t put Best in this category.

          1. johnny

            which-the poor decisions category- i assume he can read/watch TV maybe not at same time-but i’ve no problem putting him into that category,given the amount off publicity around the Humphreys trail and character references…..

          2. Aley

            I don’t quite follow.

            To support a person on trial for rape who may yet be found innocent is a different category to supporting a convicted paedophile.

            Categorically different.

            Anybody disagree?

          3. johnny

            he could simply have said NO-but rugby players don’t seem able understand that word!
            i guess there is that sub judice difference………..

          4. some old queen

            Which leads back to my question: Why did the judge feel the need to even mention it? Best was not ‘directed’ to do anything. He was there of his own free will.

          5. Frilly Nation : The Rupture is real

            He was making excuses for Captain Best
            Help get him out’ve the muck
            Sexton can only do so much like

            But at whos request …. Here Aley
            I’d say you’d know

  20. Percival

    I’ve worked with a few rugby thickos over the years who were only hired because of their Daddy’s business connections.

    They call it begrudging. But that’s the line they always to dismiss their critics.

    It’s not begrudging, it’s pointing out blatant favouritism at the expense of a better more qualified person getting the job.

  21. Manta Rae

    The jury are the masters of the facts in this case (in all trial cases, actually) .

    They are the ones who will decide the fare of Jackson et al, not the judge.

    1. Aley

      Depending on the facts the judge can and will direct to jury to convict or acquit. The facts are always the master of the case. Presuming of course the sanity of the jury.

  22. Lolly

    Am I the only one wondering why she went back again for her mobile phone? I’ve asked that question and been privy to the onslaught of verbal bashing about how of course she did because she had to call a taxi.
    one hand = return to house of rape
    other hand = risk the unkown
    ?

    1. Fiona

      Lolly, she would have been in deep shock and on autopilot. You cannot know what mental state a person would be in, in those circumstances, unless you yourself have been in a similar situation or have supported someone in the aftermath of a rape.

  23. Lilly

    Her account rings true. The texts between the men the following day ‘carnival ride etc’ suggest thick-necked inbreds who weren’t bothered about anything as trivial as consent.

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