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Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding not guilty of rape

Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding not guilty of rape

Ireland and Ulster rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding have been cleared of rape.

They both denied raping the same woman in Mr Jackson’s house in the early hours of 28 June 2016.

Blane McIlroy, who was accused of exposure, and Rory Harrison, who was charged with perverting the course of justice and withholding information, were also found not guilty.

The verdicts came in the ninth week of the trial.

Mr Jackson was also cleared of a charge of sexual assault.

The jury of eight men and three women deliberated for three hours and 45 minutes before delivering their unanimous verdicts.

Before discharging the 11-person jury, Judge Patricia Smyth told them: “This has probably been the most difficult trial that any jury in Northern Ireland has ever been asked to adjudicate on.”

The incident at the centre of the case was alleged to have happened after the four accused and four women went to Mr Jackson’s home in south Belfast from a club in the city centre.

The woman told the court she was attacked after going upstairs to retrieve a clutch bag as she was preparing to leave the house.

The woman claimed Mr Jackson had followed her into the bedroom and pushed her onto the bed. She then claimed she was raped.

However, the accused said that all sexual activity was consensual.

Outside the courthouse, Mr Jackson thanked the judge and jury for “giving him a fair trial” as well as his family and legal team.

His solicitor, Joe McVeigh, hit out at the investigation into Mr Jackson.

“It’s our belief that the investigation has been characterised by the turning of a blind eye to inadequacies in the evidence of the complainant combined with the very apparent investigative bias,” he said. Read More

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