Thursday 21 November 2019

Jackson and Olding to pay BBC's costs of £20k in privacy lawsuit

Paddy Jackson (left) and Stuart Olding. Photo: PA
Paddy Jackson (left) and Stuart Olding. Photo: PA

Alan Erwin

Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding will pay £20,000 (€22,700) costs as part of the settlement of their privacy lawsuit with the BBC.

The outcome was hailed as a vindication of the broadcaster's journalism. Mr Jackson and Mr Olding, who were both unanimously cleared of raping the same woman, sued the BBC over coverage of their questioning by police.

Writs seeking damages for misuse of private information had been issued after details were published online in November 2016 - months before charges were brought.

Their legal teams contended they weren't given sufficient notice for a right of reply before the story appeared. They claimed it was a private matter and raised issues about how the information was obtained.

The BBC defended the claim, contending its reporting was factual and in the public interest, due to the two players' profile, interest in provincial and international rugby, and the nature of the police investigation.

In March, Mr Jackson (26) was acquitted of rape and sexual assault of a woman at his Belfast home in June 2016. Mr Olding (25) was also cleared of raping the same complainant.

A conduct review after the trial saw both players having their contracts revoked by the IRFU. In court yesterday, counsel for the BBC Richard Coghlin announced proceedings were being brought to an end on terms outlined.

The barrister also asked Ms Justice Keegan to make an order for Mr Jackson and Mr Olding to pay £20,000 plus Vat towards the BBC's costs.

Following the outcome, BBC Northern Ireland's Head of News, Kathleen Carragher, said: "We argued throughout this case that our reporting was responsible, accurate, in the public interest and observed the BBC guidelines.

"We are pleased that the players have accepted this outcome and have also agreed a contribution to our legal costs."

Irish Independent

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