Jackson, Olding to be prosecuted in relation to alleged rape
Ireland internationals Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding are to be prosecuted in relation to the alleged rape of a woman in Belfast last year.
The pair, who play their club rugby for Ulster, are understood to be among four men set to be charged with offences relating to the incident.
Jackson, 25, and Olding, 24, were initially questioned by police in 2016 in connection with alleged sexual offences. Both men deny any wrongdoing.
In a statement on Tuesday, Northern Ireland’s Public Prosecution Service (PPS) said: “A decision has been taken to prosecute four men for offences relating to an allegation of rape on June 28, 2016 in south Belfast.”
A joint statement from the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) and Ulster confirmed Jackson and Olding have been stood down from their duties until the conclusion of the legal process.
It read: “The IRFU and Ulster Rugby are aware that Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding have been charged by the PSNI [Police Service of Northern Ireland] in relation to serious allegations made against them. The players have cooperated fully and strenuously deny the charges.
“The IRFU and Ulster Rugby take these allegations extremely seriously. To allow the players time to address this matter fully Ulster Rugby and the IRFU have agreed that they be relieved of their duties and obligations until the conclusion of this process. Appropriate support structures will be put in place with them during this time.
“As this is a matter for the Public Prosecution Service [PPS] it would be inappropriate to comment further.”
A statement from KRW Law on behalf of Jackson read: “We are very disappointed at the decision of the PPS to prosecute given the particular circumstances and facts known in this case.
“Our client rejects completely the allegations made against him and we are confident he will be exonerated in due course.
“Given that the case will be a jury trial it is absolutely critical that nothing is done or said in the media to prejudice due process and to that end we urge restraint on any sensationalist reporting.
“We will push for as early a hearing as possible as Patrick Jackson wants to resume playing his rugby union for Ulster Rugby and representing his country for the IRFU.”
Olding’s lawyer, Joe Rice, was quoted by the BBC as saying: “I would like to point out that my client has fully co-operated with the investigation and is not on any bail conditions and is of previous good character.
“He should be allowed to uphold his right to the presumption of innocence and rejects any allegation of wrong-doing and is confident his name will be cleared through the courts.”
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I'm sure that I'd hate him if I didn't support the Hurricanes and All Blacks but as it is I love that man to death.Go to comments
The hard work and commitment may not have led to an AB jersey. There's a big queue in his position all fighting for the same thing. However it has led to a whole new set of experiences including travel, history, cultures he may never otherwise have been exposed to. And all of that while still being able to ply his trade he loves and get paid for it! How could anyone say anything other than "Go with my blessing! You deserve it."Go to comments