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Rape trial fallout: Media outlets to challenge reporting curbs in court

By Claire O'Boyle

Legal representatives for a number of media outlets will attend Laganside Court today to challenge reporting restrictions still in place following the acquittals of Ulster Rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding.

Following the unanimous not guilty verdicts delivered for the pair last week - as well as for their friends Blane McIlroy and Rory Harrison - Judge Patricia Smyth said a number of restrictions that applied during the course of the nine-week trial would remain in place pending further hearings.

Reporting restrictions are standard within the trial process, with anything said in the absence of the jury out of bounds for reporters. Normally these restrictions end once the case is finished as the potential to prejudice the jury is no longer a risk.

Submissions were made on behalf of the media on March 28 and the issue was initially listed for a mention hearing before the judge on April 25, but this has been brought forward to today, with a full hearing listed for April 9.

Lawyers for press and broadcasters are expected to attend.

The jury took three hours and 45 minutes to find Jackson (26) and Olding (25) not guilty of rape. Jackson was acquitted of a further charge of sexual assault. McIlroy (26) was found not guilty of exposure and Harrison (25) was acquitted of perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

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