Ireland and Ulster rugby duo Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding have just been declared not guilty of raping a 19-year-old student in June 2016.
It had taken the Belfast Crown Court jury of eight men and three women three hours and 40 minutes following the marathon nine-week trial to unanimously acquit the pair of any wrongdoing.
Both 26-year-old Jackson from Oakleigh Park in Belfast, and 24-year old Olding, from Ardenlee Street, are now free to resume their sporting careers which lawyers said were “blighted” by the false rape claims.
The pair had always denied raping the now 21-year-old woman, who cannot 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 had denied charges of perverting the course of public justice, and withholding information.