Belfast Telegraph

Petition urges Ulster Rugby to reinstate rape case pair Jackson and Olding

By David Young

An online petition calling on Ulster Rugby to reinstate Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding to the squad has gathered almost 2,000 signatures in its first day.

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

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 text reads.

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

The petition says 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.

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

Belfast Telegraph

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