Legendary Irish Rugby International Calls For Jackson & Olding To Be Reinstated

Craig Gilroy

The two men were unanimously acquitted last month of raping the same woman after a nine-week trial at Belfast Crown Court.

Fears were expressed about the impact the trial would have on victims of sexual assault and whether they'd be more unlikely to come forward.

He said: "These are young men who have got involved in a lot of silly things ..."

"All of them have issued their regrets and their sadness about the affair and I think it is time that they got back to doing what they do best, and that is playing rugby".

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"We've all done silly things but it just didn't get exposure then."

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The former Ireland global told Sean O'Rourke that, while he does not understand WhatsApp, he found it very sad and silly that they got involved in this.

McBride agreed that the language used in WhatsApp messages sent by Jackson and Olding regarding the incident was not acceptable. "It's totally unfair to say they should be gotten rid of, out of Ulster and Ireland", he said.

"Alcohol is one of the biggest problems in all of these things". "During the trial they behaved very well and carried themselves very well - I hope people will see that these are not bad young men", McBride said. Willie John McBride told Sean that they shouldn't have to but that the men should be reprimanded, "you can't be held responsible for their conduct in off time, if you want to put it that way".

"The guys have virtually been tried on television and in the press every day walking in and out of court".

"These young men have made mistakes, and I would imagine they certainly won't be making those mistakes again".

After a legal argument about photographic evidence of Paddy Jackson's bedroom, Judge Smyth ruled that the jury should be shown the images after blood stains on the sheets were airbrushed out.

"We are fed up with this cyber persecution", it states, referencing the fallout from the trial with some people on social media demanding that neither Mr Olding nor Mr Jackson be allowed to play for Ireland or Ulster again.

Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding were acquitted of raping the same woman at Jackson's home in Belfast in June 2016.

The media was not able to report on an application made by Frank O'Donoghoe - the barrister representing Stuart Olding - in the final stages of the trial to discharge the jury.

After confirming "everyone is in agreement that the restrictions should be lifted", Judge Smyth withdrew the ban - but said the order granting anonymity to four young witnesses who are friends of the complainant remained in place.

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