Wednesday 18 July 2018

Paddy Jackson's lawyer: 'More should have been done to protect the complainant's anonymity'

Ireland and Ulster rugby player Paddy Jackson with his solicitor Joe McVeigh after he was found not guilty of rape. Pic:Mark Condren
Ireland and Ulster rugby player Paddy Jackson with his solicitor Joe McVeigh after he was found not guilty of rape. Pic:Mark Condren

Ian Begley

The lawyer of Paddy Jackson has said that more should have been done to protect the anonymity of a 21-year-old woman who claimed she was raped.

Speaking on RTÉ News, Joe McVeigh said "the system in the south is the way it should go at the very least".

Mr McVeigh said the identity of the complainant is well-known in Belfast.

"It's common knowledge the name of this young lady," he said.  

"If I was this young lady and her parents I would be absolutely appalled. They were given assurances before this trial commenced that this young woman's identity would be kept secret. 

"It's impossible to do that when you've got a court full to the brim with members of the public for nine solid weeks where her name is used openly throughout the trial.

"Our system in the North currently pays lip service to those type of [safe guarding protections]."

All four defendants in the high-profile rape trial were acquitted on all charges today.

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) was found not guilty of exposure.

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

Speaking following the not guilty verdicts for all four defendants, Detective Chief Inspector Zoe McKee, the senior investigating officer, said she had spoken to the complainant and that she was "understandably upset and disappointed with the outcome".

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