Shoulder To Shoulder


Today’s Irish Times

Nat writes:

So the alleged victim in the Ulster rugby rape case goes on the stand yesterday, having already said she was terrified she’d have to face Ulster rugby if the case went to trial.

Who decides to turn up in court on the day she gives evidence? Their captain Rory Best and a teammate.

Team-mates show support for accused at Belfast court (Independent)

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76 thoughts on “Shoulder To Shoulder

  1. wellness

    Rory Best should be dismissed from his current role as Irish Captain. To turn up in court on the day that the victim gave evidence, is tantamount to intimidation.

    1. wellness

      My message was edited by BS… I allowed for the presumption of innocence but qualified it by the evidence that has already been presented. I used the words ” inevitable” and ” result” and ” future dismissal” based on the outcome of this trial.

      1. Mike Oxlong

        The trial is expected to last 5 weeks and have made your assumption after 3 days worth of evidence with no submissions from the defence?

        1. Catherine Clancy

          The Irish captain has probably seen the whatsapp messages they sent the following day, even though they knew she was extremely upset! Does he support that?? He might have been better advised to stay away from the court!

      2. b

        “I allowed for the presumption of innocence but qualified it by the evidence that has already been presented.”

        Judge, jury and….qualifier

  2. Simplelife

    Isn’t it right to say that you are presumed innocent until proven guilty? Evidence is used to make a decision at the end of a trial not at the beginning? Maybe ask Rory why he showed up at the trial before people jump the gun and call for his head.

    1. Willie Banjo

      He turned up at the trial for no legal reason. He wasn’t giving evidence that day or there to give any testimony.

      The trial is one thing, sub judice etc, but Rory Best’s presence is not a legal matter to be determined but a fact. What you make of that fact is up to you but is fair game for comment.

    2. DeKloot

      Here’s an interesting article about presumptive innocence. I broadly agree with it. Regardless of the outcome with respect to the charge of rape, some very serious stuff clearly went down that night. Rory Best holds a position that carries great responsibility on and off the pitch. I’m fairly certain there’ll be repercussions for him. He should have used common sense and stayed away from court whatever about the other lad.

  3. b

    the day they turned up maybe had more to do with their free day from the Irish camp rather that a co-ordinated attempt to intimidate.

    Maybe they should be given the benefit of the doubt, just like the accused until all the evidence is heard?

  4. Zaccone

    Showing up to your friends trial to show emotional support for them is surely a pretty normal thing to do? Especially when you’re a leader/mentor to them as Rory Best would likely be.

    As other posters mention, innocent until proven guilty and all that too.

  5. Hansel

    AFAIK the alleged victim was purposefully screened from having to see the gallery, for this very reason.

    I don’t disagree that an alleged rape victim having to face against their alleged rapist and their friends/colleagues must be horrible.
    However this particular angle “how dare they turn up” is possibly jumping the gun slightly. If there’s a guilty verdict, then by all means ask these two lads about the friends they keep, the court cases they attend, and their motivation for doing so.

    1. wellness

      He is captain of the Irish team and once the verdict has been delivered, he should as “Irish Captain” be required to make a public statement concerning the outcome of this trial. His attendence at this trial is a public statement of support by the Irish Captain for the accused , albeit a non-verbal statement . I look forward to hearing his verbal statement , in his position as “Irish Captain” , following the verdict.

      1. Hansel

        Fair enough by me….for me a critical detail is, as you say: “once the verdict has been delivered”.

      2. newsjustin

        “once the verdict has been delivered, he should as “Irish Captain” be required to make a public statement concerning the outcome of this trial.”

        Should he? Why?

        1. wellness

          Because his attendance at trial is a public statement of support for the accused. I will reserve judgement until the verdict has been delivered.

        2. Hansel

          Cos he’s apparently in some form of team uniform, thus apparently representing as a member of the team, rather than as himself, as a member of the public.
          And it works both ways: he’s either showing solidarity as a team member of an innocent colleague, or showing solidarity with a guilty colleague.

          He’s doing this for his team mate. He’s letting his team mate, and the public, know that he stands with that team mate. For better or for worse.

          Edit: you got there before me Wellness!

          1. A person

            They are not in any uniform. They just so happen to be wearing similar colours. Different top (one a sweater, one a jacket), different colour trousers different shoes.

            Hang them though for wearing similar clothes.

        1. Hansel

          It’s possible to offer support without dressing identically, in the public forum in which your friend is challenged.
          He’s letting the record show and his team mates know, that their team (not just the individual) stands behind them: he will be quite literally standing behind his team-mate.

          And he probably won’t and shouldn’t regret doing so, if there’s an innocent verdict IMO

          1. Gooch Gooch Gooch

            So, he shouldn’t stand by his friend and team mate?

            Because you’ve already decided Jackson is guilty.

          2. Hansel

            Wow, so the opposite of:
            “he shouldn’t stand by his friend and team mate…Jackson is guilty.” is
            “fashion advice” ?
            Are you normally prone to exaggeration and hyperbole, Gooch Gooch Gooch? Because I’d say that might be quite a leap.

            For the record, I think Best made a tough decision. I wouldn’t like to have been in his position.

      3. Spud

        Don’t see why he needs to comment on it.
        His attendance is probably purely at a friend level. Keep the ‘Irish Captain’ badge on for matters on the pitch.

        1. Hansel

          Friends who just happen to dress alike?

          He can choose to dress in his civvies if it’s just to support his friend, purely at a friend level. He can even wear a jacket over his “uniform”. That’s his choice.

          1. Alan Martin

            As far as I can see they are dressed similarly but not identical. Its not a uniform or official Ireland/Ulster gear.

      4. Dan

        we can all rest easy knowing Wellness is here to decide what should and shouldn’t happen in society. Thanks !

        1. wellness

          Natural justice shall accompany positive law. Chat in five weeks. You may rest easy… until then.

  6. Blonto

    Extremely poor decision. Terrible timing. Not when the witness is on the stand. Jesus.
    What uniform are they wearing? Ulster? Ireland?
    If it is a team uniform then surely that would mean they are representing that team, and not just there in a personal capacity.

  7. Paddy at the Howth Summit

    The state of them. They’d last about 10 seconds in a donnybrook between SCT supporters in D4.

    I blame Phil Coulter.

  8. some old queen

    It is a statement saying that he thinks they are innocent because if he thought they were guilty, he wouldn’t be anywhere near that courtroom. Very bad form on Best’s behalf because he is the Irish Captain and his action could be regarded as an abuse of his position. Actually, the fact it is even a topic means some regard it as such already.

  9. wellness

    Hook was vilified for his comments , which could be construed as “advice” , albeit clumsily worded. Let us wait until the verdict is delivered and let us hear what Rory Best has to say regarding the verdict.

  10. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

    Regardless of the outcome, those WhatsApp messages don’t show any of the accused in a terribly flattering light.

  11. TheRealJane

    Obviously, the jury haven’t delivered a verdict yet and Rory Best is entitled to attend if he chooses.

    However, I’m sure he must have read the text exchanges published in the newspapers yesterday. He must realise that even if a guilty verdict is not delivered, this is not an event to associate yourself with. No matter the verdict, they did not behave properly, decently or respectfully towards the defendant.

    Turning up despite that shows poor judgement and exactly the attitude that made the defendant hesitate to report, according to her own texts.

    This is not the behaviour of a leader, in my opinion, and any team of which Rory Best is captain will suffer the very damaging withdrawal of my support.

    1. Amy Band

      That’s fine but it’s you and people like you who are blowing it up to be something else; I see it as a man supporting work colleagues . I would like my boss to support me even when I completely screw up provided I am genuinely honest and actually sorry for the way I let my company down.

      1. Bernie

        Amy, you cannot compare completely screwing up at work to rape, but keep making insulting, inflammatory remarks. Hope the attention you’re receiving from your immature, ignorant stupidity gives you the kick that you were seeking.

  12. Jimmey_russell

    it’s literally 2018 why are trials like this even allowed? a woman has said she was raped, SHE. WAS. RAPED.

    End Of.

    1. Daisy Chainsaw

      Justice must be seen to be done and the accused are entitled to trial by a jury of their peers.

    2. Lolly

      Really? If a woman says she was raped then of course she was?
      If your best friend was accused of murder / fraud, would you not turn up to support him because you believed his innocence? Is this not because it is a disturbing crime but also one where the grey area is very difficult to clarify? Those boys are botty-boos without doubt, but there’s a fine line as to what happened. Only those in the room know.

  13. street tooth

    i have the inside scoop:
    they were actually there to make sure Jackson and Olding GO DOWN! they know what theyre like, and actually have been the victims of their ways before! they are there to support the victim.

  14. italia'90

    I’d say his presence in court was less to do with intimidating the witness.
    Rugby players appear to be treated very leniently by the court system here, not sure about up in the North of Ireland?
    Boys from certain schools also seem to be treated very leniently by officers of the law. The same could be said about people from certain professions versus how people from working class areas are dealt with.
    And they are all well regarded by the people who are considered the elite of our society.
    The wagons always get circled in these types of situations in my opinion.
    Disagree all you like, I’ve seen rugby heads get away with crimes other kids get criminal records for.
    Best of luck to that girl in the court in Belfast. It must be very intimidating for her.
    Best of luck to the defendants if they are found innocent. Their texts are in the public domain and will never be deleted from memory.
    Imo (Rory Best is a twat!)

    1. Frilly Nation : The Rupture is real

      I suspect that was the intention ah’right 90
      Strutting their stuff – their profile and their connections
      For the Jury
      And Legals
      And the residing Right Honourable

      Why else would they have been togged out in their Club gear

      If it was a personal show of support for a butty then make it personal and private, present yourself as being there wholly in a private capacity
      And not this public parade, in a pair, in their Gang Colours in front of the Court and the media

  15. anne

    Innocence until proven guilty, in the eyes of the law n all that.
    They didn’t rape anyone until a jury finds they did. Until that time, they didn’t rape her.

    She mighta ran outta there upset coz it was past her bedtime and she was just tired? The taxi driver who dropped her home witnessed her as being distraught. Texts from one of the men there comforting her, for what? Coz it was all such fun for her?

    I can’t see why she would be so upset if it was consensual. I can’t see going through withreporting it if it was in fact consensual in any way.

    I can’t understand these “men’s” texts to each other the next day. The absolute lack of respect for themselves, not to mind anyone else.

  16. anne

    Makes for interesting reading.

    FACT 1: 85% of people who commit sexual assaults are known to their victims (Rape Crisis Network National Statistics 2015).

    IMPACT: 65% of those who suffer sexual violence do not report it to the Gardaí or any other formal authority. (Rape Crisis Network National Statistics 2015). This is often due to a relationship with their abuser, for example, only 15% of those abused by a relative reported the incident. (Rape Crisis Network National Statistics 2014).

    FACT 2: Rapists are men of all ages and from all walks of life.
    A US study of 646 convicted rapists found that they were no more psychologically disturbed than those who had committed robberies or assaults (Amir, M. (1971) Patterns of Forcible Rape. Chicago: University of Chicago Press).

    IMPACT: Survivors are often not believed because the rapist does not fit the stereotype, as they seem to be such a ‘normal’ or ‘decent’ person.

    FACT 3: All women face the possibility of rape, not only attractive ones. Interviews with rapists confirm that the woman’s looks were not important to them.

    IMPACT: The mistaken belief that rape is about sexual attraction leads to excusing the rapist. Some people say that the woman’s looks, short skirt or make-up provoked the attack.

    FACT 4: Resisting does not protect from being raped. All rapists use tactics of intimidation and fear.  A common reaction is to freeze. Not fighting back or submitting can be a survival response. The rapist is in control of how he acts; the victim is always reacting to the rapist. (Schmidt et. al. 2007)

    IMPACT: Survivors wrongly blame themselves. If they have no bruises, cuts or injuries to show, they question whether they were really raped. Society and the justice system question the survivor’s actions.

    FACT 5: Reporting rape or sexual assault involves complex, invasive and sometimes traumatic procedures. Women who have been subjected to rape or sexual assault are often treated with suspicion and disbelief. This makes it unlikely that a woman would make and stick with a false accusation of rape.

    IMPACT: Family, friends and acquaintances, without considering the above, do not believe the survivors, especially if they know the rapist. They suspect the survivor wants revenge or regrets what he/she did. As a result, survivors do not report or proceed with prosecution. This reinforces others in the belief that the survivors lied in the first place.

  17. Paul

    It is interesting how all woman here and on twitter, side with the ”alleged” victim in this case, even though nothing is proven.
    How sexist, all rape victims are not female. I was a victim
    When people of previous very good character, like Paddy Jackson are accused of something. The least we can all do is wait for both sides to give their version and the Jury to come to a verdict
    It is sad that there is not a system were, the identities of accused and accuser, are protected, until the final outcome

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