Monday 23 July 2018

Stuart Olding: 'I am sorry for the hurt that was caused to the complainant'

Ireland and Ulster rugby player Stuart Olding (centre) with his solicitor Paul Dougan (on left) after he was found not guilty of rape .
Pic:Mark Condren
Ireland and Ulster rugby player Stuart Olding (centre) with his solicitor Paul Dougan (on left) after he was found not guilty of rape . Pic:Mark Condren
Ireland and Ulster rugby player Stuart Olding (left) and his solicitor Paul Dougan (centre) outside Belfast Crown Court. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

STUART Olding has said he "deeply regrets" the events of the night of June 28 in a statement after he was acquitted of one count of rape.

Outside Belfast Crown Court the Ireland international issued a statement via his solicitor, Paul Dougan.

"As you will appreciate everyone including Stuart Olding is in a heightened state of emotion and it would not be appropriate for him to answer questions today," Mr Dougan said.

The statement he read out on behalf of his client said: "I want to start by thanking the judge and jury for their time and patience throughout this long trial . I am very relieved that the jury has accepted my explanation as to what occurred. I want to acknowledge publicly that though I committed no criminal offence on the evening of the 28th of June 2016 I regret deeply the events of that evening. I want to acknowledge that the complainant came to court and gave evidence about her perception of those events.

"I am sorry for the hurt that was caused to the complainant. It was never my intention to cause any upset to anyone on that night. I don't agree with her perception of events and I maintain that everything that happened on that evening was consensual.

"I have consistently told the truth to the police and the court when asked to account for my conduct.

"The Stuart Olding who has been portrayed over the past nine weeks in this trial is not the real Stuart Olding. I am fiercely proud to represent my province and my country. I have worked very hard to achieve those goals. I hope to be able to prove myself going forward in all aspects of my life."

He also thanked his legal team and his family for their support.

Paddy Jackson, who was acquitted of rape and sexual assault, read his own statement outside the court.

He said: "I'd just like to thank the judge and the jury for giving me a fair trial, my parents for being here every day, as well as my brother and sisters.

Ireland and Ulster rugby player Stuart Olding leaving Belfast Crown Court. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Ireland and Ulster rugby player Stuart Olding leaving Belfast Crown Court. Niall Carson/PA Wire

"Out of respect for my employers I've nothing further to comment."

All four defendants in the rape trial were found not guilty on all charges.

Ireland and Ulster rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding were found not guilty by a jury of raping a young student at a house party two years ago.

Mr Jackson (26) was also found not guilty of sexually assaulting the then 19-year-old woman.

The rugby players' close friend Blane McIlroy (26) has been found not guilty of exposure.

A second friend, Rory Harrison (25), has been found not guilty of perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

After three hours and 45 minutes of deliberation, the jury of eight men and three women returned to courtroom No 12 shortly after noon and told the judge they had reached a unanimous verdict on all counts.

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