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28th Mar 2018

Paddy Jackson has been found not guilty by the Belfast Crown Court

Rosanna Cooney

Paddy Jackson

The jury in the Belfast Crown Court has returned its verdict.

Ireland and Ulster rugby duo Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding have been declared not guilty of raping a 19-year-old student in June 2016.

After 3 hours and 45 minutes of deliberation it reached a unanimous verdict on all counts.

Jackson (26), from Oakleigh Park, was found not guilty of rape and sexual assault.

Stuart Olding (25), from Ardenlee Street, was found not guilty of rape.

Both Jackson and Olding are now free to resume their sporting careers which their lawyers said were “blighted” by the false rape claims.

The pair had always denied raping the now 21-year-old woman, who can’t be named for legal reasons, during a party in Jackson’s home on June 28, 2016.

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

Acquitted and freed along with them were two friends, Blane McIlroy (26), from Royal Lodge Road, cleared of exposure, and Rory Harrison (25) from Manse Road, also Belfast, who’d denied charges of perverting the course of public justice, and withholding information.

WATCH: Paddy Jackson statement after being found not guilty of rape.

VIDEO: Paddy Jackson speaks after being found not guilty of rape at the Belfast Crown Court.

READ: Paddy Jackson’s statement in full

Additional reporting by M&M News Services

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