Belfast Telegraph

Irish senator Aodhan O'Riordain apologises over rugby rape trial tweet

An Irish senator has apologised for a tweet he sent in the wake of the acquittal of two Ulster rugby players on rape charges.

On March 30, solicitors for Paddy Jackson released a statement saying it would be suing Labour senator Aodhan O'Riordain for defamatory comments.

Senior Associate Marie Hans of KRW LAW solicitors said: "I can confirm we have issued pre-action libel correspondence against a named Senator in the Republic of Ireland. The legal action relates to a tweet sent to a number of other persons before it was eventually taken down."

On Monday morning, Labour senator Aodhan O'Riordain posted a message to his Twitter page reading: "My tweet of 28 March concerning the Belfast rape trial was not designed or intended to suggest that either Paddy Jackson or any of the other accused men were guilty or that the jury got it wrong.

"I apologise for any suggestion to the contrary. I accept that I was not privy to all the evidence put before the jury during the trial.

"I will not be making further comment."

Mr Jackson (26) and Mr Olding (25) were cleared of rape.

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

Blane McIlroy (26), who was accused of exposure, and Rory Harrison (25), who was charged with perverting the course of justice and withholding information, were also cleared during the trial.

A jury took less than four hours to unanimously find them not guilty of all charges last month.

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