Belfast Telegraph

Rugby rape trial verdict: Ulster stars' careers on hold pending joint review

By Ryan Nugent

Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding will remain suspended by both the IRFU and Ulster Rugby until a joint internal investigation is conducted by the organisations.

In a combined statement both the national side and the province said they postponed the review until the rape trial was complete.

Mr Jackson (26) and Mr Olding (25) were found not guilty by a jury of raping a young student at a house party two years ago.

Mr Jackson was also found not guilty of sexually assaulting the then 19-year-old woman.

Both rugby players had been suspended from playing by the IRFU and Ulster Rugby on July 25, 2017 after they were charged by the PSNI.

In a statement on behalf of Mr Jackson, his solicitor, Joe McVeigh said the rugby player intended on returning to play for both province and country.

"As for Paddy, his main priority right now is to return to his work and that means getting back on the rugby pitch representing his province and his country," he concluded in his statement outside Belfast Laganside Court.

However, in a statement released a short time later, both the IRFU and Ulster Rugby said the two players would remain "relieved of their duties" while an internal review is conducted.

This review will be headed up by senior officials within both organisations. They said the officials represented on the review committee have already been appointed.

"We wish to acknowledge that this has undoubtedly been a difficult and extremely traumatic time for all involved," the statement read.

"To respect the judicial proceedings the IRFU and Ulster Rugby postponed any internal review of the matter with the players, until the proceedings concluded.

"IRFU and Ulster Rugby officials will review the matter, in line with existing procedures for all contracted players.

"A review committee, made up of senior representatives of the IRFU and Ulster Rugby, has been appointed and will conclude its review as soon as practicable. The players will continue to be relieved of all duties while the review committee is in process and determining its findings," it added.

Mr Jackson has played 25 times for Ireland. He made his debut in the Six Nations against Scotland in February 2013 and last represented his country against Japan on July 24, 2017.

This was a day before he was suspended by province and country. Mr Olding meanwhile last represented Ireland on June 25, 2016, on a tour of South Africa.

Blane McIlroy, Paddy Jackson, Stuart Olding and Rory Harrison always denied the charges against them.
Blane McIlroy, Paddy Jackson, Stuart Olding and Rory Harrison always denied the charges against them.
Paddy Jackson outside court. Pic Kevin Scott.
Rory Harrison leaves court. Pic Kevin Scott
Rory Harrison
Blane McIlroy
Stuart Olding
Paddy Jackson

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