Published: Thu, March 29, 2018
Sport | By Ashley Hunter

Ireland pair Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding cleared of rape charges

Ireland pair Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding cleared of rape charges

The IRFU and Ulster Rugby joint-statement read: "The IRFU and Ulster Rugby note the verdict handed down today at the Belfast Crown Court in relation to the case brought against Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding".

Both players are contracted with Ulster until the summer of 2019.

After less than four hours of deliberation, a Belfast jury acquitted Paddy Jackson, Stuart Olding and two other defendants on all charges.

She warned that "any breach of this entitlement is and will be investigated".

Stuart Olding has released a statement following the conclusion of the Belfast rape trial on Wednesday afternoon.

There was also praise for the bravery of the woman at the centre of the high- profile trial, and there was sympathy for the position she found herself in today.

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She said that although members of the jury may have heard about a "majority" decision, she told them: "Just put that out of your minds for now".

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I served on a rape trial jury last summer.

Echoing numerous sentiments shared in an earlier statement by his teammate and similarly cleared Paddy Jackson, Olding suggested that he was "sorry for the hurt that was caused to the complainant".

Paddy Jackson thanked his legal team and his family after the verdict.

Jackson's lawyer said that "vile commentary" on social media throughout the trial went well beyond fair comment and raised concerns about the integrity of the trial process. We thank them and Her Honour Judge Smyth, for their time and commitment to what was a lengthy and complex case.

The case attracted huge attention during the course of the nine-week trial, and the verdict attracted a wide variety of opinion on social media.

The two, who were banned from playing pending the trial, had pleaded not guilty to charges over the alleged incident on June 28, 2016. Worryingly, even at the heart of public service they should have known better there is no reason to believe that this problem will not worsen.

On most days, the 100-seat public gallery has been full.

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