Tuesday 23 January 2018

Ireland rugby star Paddy Jackson 'rejects completely' alleged sexual offences

Jackson and fellow Ulster player Stuart Olding were questioned

Paddy Jackson
Paddy Jackson
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Ireland out-half Paddy Jackson and Ulster team mate Stuart Olding have been arrested by police as part of a probe into alleged sex offences.

The BBC is reporting the players were two of the three men questioned by the PSNI in relation to an incident in South Belfast on June 28.

The three men were interviewed and then released from custody.

Jackson (24) had been due to fly to Chicago on Monday with the Irish squad ahead of their clash with New Zealand on Saturday.

However on Monday a press release said Mr Jackson was not included for "personal reasons".

He had just returned from the Test tour in South Africa the week before the alleged offences.

Stuart Olding of Ulster. Photo: Sportsfile
Stuart Olding of Ulster. Photo: Sportsfile

A statement from Ulster Rugby made clear the men maintain their innocence.

"Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding have been assisting the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) with inquiries," it said.

"The players deny any wrongdoing and have not been charged with any offence. As no charges have been brought forward, it would be inappropriate to comment further."

This morning Jackson's legal firm KRW Law said he "rejects completely any allegations made against him".

"Patrick has co-operated fully with police in their inquiries and we have been liaising with police on his behalf," said solicitor Kevin Winters.

"We are both disappointed and indeed concerned that this information has been leaked to the press before the investigation has concluded and well in advance of any final decision. This has the potential to be prejudicial to our client’s interests.

"We will not hesitate to take all necessary steps to protect his legal position as he is entitled to the presumption of innocence. We urge the media to restrain from any damaging speculation."

Olding is currently out of action with a hip flexor injury.

Jackson, 24, has been capped for Ireland 16 times while centre Olding, 23, has played four times. The two Belfast men are established stars for Ulster Rugby and have played regularly this season.

In a statement the PSNI confirmed: "Police arrested two men aged 24 and one man aged 23 on Thursday 30th June in relation to a number of sexual offences, reported to have taken place at a property in south Belfast, on 28th June.

"The men have been interviewed and released from custody. A file will be prepared for submission to the PPS. A fourth man aged 24, will be reported to the PPS in relation to this incident for perverting the course of justice."

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