Belfast Telegraph

Petition demanding Ulster Rugby recall for rape case pair Jackson and Olding reinstated after removal

Mystery after petition suspended

An online petition calling on Ulster Rugby to reinstate Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding to its squad has been reinstated after it was removed.

The Change.org petition, called 'Get Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding back playing for Ulster Rugby', said that because the two men were found not guilty in their rape trial, they should return to the pitch for the province.

The petition quickly attracted over 10,000 signatures before it was removed.

It is unclear why the petition was removed, however, those trying to access the page while it was suspended were met with a message saying it may have been taken down for "violating community guidelines, or due the original poster removing it".

On Tuesday evening the petition was again live on the change.org site with over 13,000 signatures.

Change.org has been contacted for a comment.

The players are currently not considered for selection pending a review.

"Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding were found not guilty of rape and therefore should be reinstated to the Ulster Rugby squad as soon as possible as they have already been forced through a very public trial and been suspended from playing throughout this trial," the petition states.

"This is punishment enough and Ulster Rugby should be showing support to their players who were found not guilty."

The petition also said the players had not broken any sporting rules.

"If Ulster Rugby need to enforce to these players how behaviour in their private lives may affect their career as rugby players then this should be stated clearly to the players as a warning not to repeat such behaviour again as it will carry consequences for themselves and others such as what they have gone through."

It said "the same applies" to Craig Gilroy, who was dropped for Friday night's game against Edinburgh after sending a WhatsApp message used as evidence in the trial.

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.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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