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Rugby rape trial verdicts: Jackson and Olding welcome ruling as PSNI and PPS defend taking case to court

Paddy Jackson, Stuart Olding, Blane McIlroy and Rory Harrison all cleared

Ireland and Ulster rugby duo Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding have been found not guilty of raping a 19-year-old student in June 2016. Blane McIlroy and Rory Harrison were also cleared of all charges against them.

Both the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) and the PSNI defended their actions in bringing the case to trial.

Speaking outside court briefly Paddy Jackson thanked all those that had supported him as well as the judge and the jury "for giving me a fair trial."

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Stuart Olding leaves court. Pic Kevin Scott

Stuart Olding leaves court. Pic Kevin Scott

Stuart Olding outside court. Pic Kevin Scott.

Stuart Olding outside court. Pic Kevin Scott.

Paddy Jackson outside court. Pic Kevin Scott

Paddy Jackson outside court. Pic Kevin Scott

Paddy Jackson

Paddy Jackson

Photopress Belfast

Stuart Olding

Stuart Olding

Blane McIlroy

Blane McIlroy

Rory Harrison

Rory Harrison

Rory Harrison leaves court. Pic Kevin Scott

Rory Harrison leaves court. Pic Kevin Scott

Rory Harrison. Pic Kevin Scott

Rory Harrison. Pic Kevin Scott

Paddy Jackson. Pic Kevin Scott

Paddy Jackson. Pic Kevin Scott

Rory Harrison leaves court. Pic Kevin Scott

Rory Harrison leaves court. Pic Kevin Scott

Paddy Jackson. Pic Kevin Scott

Paddy Jackson. Pic Kevin Scott

Paddy Jackson and solicitor Joe McVeigh speak to reporters outside court. (Kevin Scott)

Paddy Jackson and solicitor Joe McVeigh speak to reporters outside court. (Kevin Scott)

Paddy Jackson outside court. Pic Kevin Scott.

Paddy Jackson outside court. Pic Kevin Scott.

McIlroy, Jackson, Olding and Harrison deny all charges against them.

McIlroy, Jackson, Olding and Harrison deny all charges against them.

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Stuart Olding leaves court. Pic Kevin Scott

He said it would not be fair to comment further "out of respect for his employers".

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".

Ulster and the IRFU have said it will now hold an internal review into the matter. Blane McIlroy and Rory Harrison left court without commenting.

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In a statement Stuart Olding also thanked the judge and jury. He said - although he had committed no offence - "I regret deeply the events of that evening."

He said: "I want to acknowledge the complainant came to court and gave evidence about her perception of those events. 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. I don't agree with her perception of events and everything that happened was consensual."

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Rory Harrison leaves court. Pic Kevin Scott

Rory Harrison leaves court. Pic Kevin Scott

Rory Harrison leaves court. Pic Kevin Scott

He said he had "consistently told the truth" with the police and during the trial.

"The Stuart Olding who has been portrayed over past nine weeks of this trial is not the real Stuart Olding," he added.

The PPS said the test for prosecution was met and it was "right" to put the case to a jury and praised the "courage" of the complainant. It said the media coverage had been "unprecedented".

Police said they would be investigating the naming of the woman in the case on social media and rejected accusations the reputation of the rugby players motivated them to take the case.

“We carry out investigations regardless of standing or status,” said Detective Superintendent Paula Hilman.

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Stuart Olding leaves court. Pic Kevin Scott

Stuart Olding leaves court. Pic Kevin Scott

Stuart Olding outside court. Pic Kevin Scott.

Stuart Olding outside court. Pic Kevin Scott.

Paddy Jackson outside court. Pic Kevin Scott

Paddy Jackson outside court. Pic Kevin Scott

Paddy Jackson

Paddy Jackson

Photopress Belfast

Stuart Olding

Stuart Olding

Blane McIlroy

Blane McIlroy

Rory Harrison

Rory Harrison

Rory Harrison leaves court. Pic Kevin Scott

Rory Harrison leaves court. Pic Kevin Scott

Rory Harrison. Pic Kevin Scott

Rory Harrison. Pic Kevin Scott

Paddy Jackson. Pic Kevin Scott

Paddy Jackson. Pic Kevin Scott

Rory Harrison leaves court. Pic Kevin Scott

Rory Harrison leaves court. Pic Kevin Scott

Paddy Jackson. Pic Kevin Scott

Paddy Jackson. Pic Kevin Scott

Paddy Jackson and solicitor Joe McVeigh speak to reporters outside court. (Kevin Scott)

Paddy Jackson and solicitor Joe McVeigh speak to reporters outside court. (Kevin Scott)

Paddy Jackson outside court. Pic Kevin Scott.

Paddy Jackson outside court. Pic Kevin Scott.

McIlroy, Jackson, Olding and Harrison deny all charges against them.

McIlroy, Jackson, Olding and Harrison deny all charges against them.

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Stuart Olding leaves court. Pic Kevin Scott

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