March 28, 2018
Ireland and Ulster rugby players Paddy Jackson, 25, and Stuart Olding, 25, were today acquitted of rape charges in Belfast Crown Court
Both had denied raping the same woman in Jackson’s house in the early hours of 28 June 2016.
Paddy Jackson, 25, was found not guilty of rape and penetrative sexual assault. Stuart Olding, 25, was found not guilty of rape.
Rory Harrison, 25, was found not guilty of charges of perverting the curse of justice and withholding information. Blane McIlroy, 26, was found not guilty of exposing his genitals.
The four had been charged that they had committed various offences between 27 June and 1 July in 2016.
The eleven-person jury, eight men and four women, was sent out by Judge Patricia Smyth at 10.30am on Tuesday and returned today (Wednesday morning) after a nine-week trial. When the trial opened on 30 January 12 jurors were originally sworn in – nine men and three women but this was reduced to 11 jurors after one juror was discharged due to illness.
They had deliberated for three hours and forty-five minutes before returning their verdict.
The jury heard from the 21-year-old complainant who spent over eight days in the witness box and heard how police interviewed the four rugby players at Musgrave Street PSNI station in Belfast on 25 separate occasions between June and October 2016, a total of 17 hours and 34 minutes.
A total of 31 witnesses gave evidence including medical experts, character witnesses and leading barristers.
The witnesses also included 10 police officers, two doctors, a forensic scientist and a taxi driver who had driven the woman home on the night of the alleged rape.
The long road to Belfast Agreement