Ulster Rugby Rape Trial: Verdicts Prompt Outpouring Of Support For Alleged Victim

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A jury of eight men and three women returned its unanimous verdict after deliberating for a total of almost four hours.

Jackson was also found not guilty of sexual assault, a charge he also denied.

The Stuart Olding who has been portrayed in the past nine weeks in this trial is not the real Stuart Olding.

"The prosecution made much of a perceived privilege position provided by virtue of Paddy being an worldwide rugby player".

A jury at Belfast Crown Court has declared Ireland and Ulster players, Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding "not guilty" of raping a 19 year old student in June 2016.

Jackson's solicitor Joe McVeigh hit out at the investigation, saying: "It's our belief that the investigation has been characterised by the turning of a blind eye to inadequacies in the evidence of the complainant combined with the very apparent investigative bias".

"This price was paid despite the fact he is and has never been anything other than entirely innocent".

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Their lawyers said the sporting careers of Jackson and Olding had been "blighted" by false rape claims.

Following the verdict, the IRFU and Ulster Rugby released a joint statement announcing that the players would not be considered for selection and will continue to be relieved of their duties until their own internal review determines its findings.

They maintained from the outset that any sexual contact they had with her in Jackson's bedroom was purely consensual.

"I want to acknowledge publicly that, although I committed no criminal offence, I regret deeply the events of that evening".

'I'm sorry for the hurt that was caused to the complainant.

The trial received widespread media coverage across both Ireland and Northern Ireland, where rugby is one of the few sports where players from both sides of the border represent one national team.

He warned that despite the verdict, "vile commentary expressed on social media, going well beyond fair comment, have polluted the sphere of public discourse and raise real concerns about the integrity of the trial process".

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