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
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”.
Reports and analysis:
- Jackson and Olding go free after verdicts take less than four hours to reach
- Heart-stopping moment when verdicts arrived
- Varadkar airs ‘jaw-dropping’ remarks on case
- Lindy McDowell: Four young men and their families now face challenge of putting lives back together after harrowing case
- Eilis O'Hanlon: 'Misinformed, misconceived and malicious'... how comments on social media cast bilious clouds over a difficult and complex trial
- Suzanne Breen: Sportsmen's online chatter betrayed truly disheartening level of sexism
- The fateful night when lives were changed for ever
- Free to get on with new lives, knowing there is no way back to old ones
- Jackson and Olding pursue lawsuit against the BBC over online article
- Accused deserve to be anonymous, says man whose life was ruined by rape claim
- Editor's Viewpoint: Kangaroo court of social media must be brought to heel