Ireland rugby players Paddy Jackson, Stuart Olding acquitted of rape

Ireland and Ulster rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding

Ireland and Ulster rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding

Marianne O'Kane, assistant director and head of the Public Prosecution Service's serious crime unit, said it was "ultimately right" that the case had been brought to trial.

Olding told the court he had been "in complete control" of his actions despite a day of heavy drinking and that he was "100 percent sure" that what had happened had been consensual. Pic Kevin Scott Stuart Olding outside court.

Paddy Jackson along with his Ulster teammate Stuart Olding and their two friends were today acquitted of a number of charges including rape and sexual assault. Pic Kevin Scott Paddy Jackson.

Jackson, McIlroy and Harrison were permitted to leave the dock first.

His solicitor Joe McVeigh made a much longer statement, criticising the complainant, the police and social media. (Kevin Scott) Paddy Jackson outside court.

Paddy Jackson, 26, from Belfast's Oakleigh Park, is charged with one count of rape and one count of sexual assault.

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

Out of respect for my employers I have nothing further to comment.

His solicitor thanked the jury for reaching a "common sense verdict" and attacked the "vile" social media commentary during the trial from "public servants who should know better".

The court was told a short time later that no evidence had been offered by prosecutors on a charge of vaginal rape against Stuart Olding.

Ms Hilman said police had seen a rise in reports of rape during the trial, compared with the January/February period past year.

"I am sorry for the hurt that was caused to the complainant, it was never my intention to cause any upset to anyone on that night", he said.

Jackson said the woman had followed him to his bedroom on two separate occasions for consensual sexual activity.

Rory Harrison leaves court.

There was a delay in releasing Olding from the glass box/dock area where the men have listened to nine weeks of testimony.

"The evidence received in this case was subjected to a very thorough and careful examination by a team of experienced lawyers including Senior Counsel, before we concluded that the Test for Prosecution was met, in line with our Code for Prosecutors".

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