Belfast Telegraph

Irish senator Aodhan O'Riordain apologises for his tweet about trial

By Victoria Leonard

Irish senator Aodhan O'Riordain has apologised for a tweet he sent in the aftermath of the acquittal of two Ulster and Ireland rugby players in a Belfast rape trial.

Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding, along with two friends, were found not guilty of all charges against them on March 28.

However, lawyers for Mr Jackson issued High Court defamation proceedings after a tweet posted by Mr O'Riordain, a Labour senator, on the same day.

The Twitter post was subsequently deleted.

Mr O'Riordain took to Twitter again yesterday to apologise.

He wrote: "My tweet of 28 March concerning the Belfast rape trial was not designed or intended to suggest that either Paddy Jackson or any of the other accused men were guilty or that the jury got it wrong.

"I apologise for any suggestion to the contrary. I accept that I was not privy to all the evidence put before the jury during the trial. I will not be making any further comment."

At the end of March, police revealed they had questioned two people for allegedly naming on social media the female complainant at the centre of the rape trial. Files were passed to the PPS to determine whether any action will be taken.

The PSNI said yesterday that "no-one else has been interviewed" in relation to the female complainant's identity being revealed online.

A PSNI spokesperson said: "There is an ongoing police investigation and two people have been interviewed in relation to an offence under section five of the Sexual Offences Amendment Act 1992. Two files have been forwarded to the Public Prosecution Service for consideration."

The Belfast Telegraph made repeated attempts to contact Mr Jackson's legal representatives yesterday, but did not receive a response.

Previously, Mr Jackson's legal representatives at KRW Law said they had no option but to issue a Notice of Intention to sue Mr O'Riordain "for defamatory comments".

Belfast Telegraph

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