Belfast Telegraph

There are no winners here: Jackson, Olding and two friends cleared of all charges

  • Emotional scenes after 'unprecedented' 42-day hearing

  • Jackson's solicitor tells of toll on family and slams social media slurs

By Claire O'Boyle

A 42-day trial that ended with two Ulster and Ireland rugby stars being cleared of rape was a case with “no winners”, it was claimed yesterday.

Paddy Jackson (26) and 25-year-old Stuart Olding (right) walked free from a Belfast court after a jury unanimously acquitted them of all charges, having deliberated for three hours and 45 minutes. Two friends — Blane McIlroy (26) and Rory Harrison (25) — were also cleared of all charges arising from the incident.

Afterwards, the PSNI officer who led the investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Zoe McKee, said: “There are no winners here. This case was unprecedented.”

Outside the court, Joe McVeigh, Mr Jackson’s solicitor, said it was his client’s status as a famous sportsman that led to his prosecution.

He also slammed the “vile commentary” about the trial on Twitter that went “well beyond fair comment”.

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