Thursday 26 April 2018

Top English and French clubs monitoring Paddy Jackson situation after out-half found not guilty in rape trial

Ireland and Ulster rugby player Paddy Jackson leaving Belfast Crown Court after he was found not guilty of raping a woman at a property in south Belfast in June 2016 Picture date: Wednesday March 28, 2018. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Ireland and Ulster rugby player Paddy Jackson leaving Belfast Crown Court after he was found not guilty of raping a woman at a property in south Belfast in June 2016 Picture date: Wednesday March 28, 2018. Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Press Association

A solicitor for Paddy Jackson says that the out-half's 'main priority is to return to work' after the Ireland international was found not guilty of rape and sexual assault at a trial in Belfast.

His Ulster and Ireland team-mate Stuart Olding was also found not guilty of rape. Both Jackson and Olding have been stood down from Ireland and Ulster duty since charges were brought against them.

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) and Ulster Rugby have now launched a review, which will determine whether Jackson and Olding can resume their top-level rugby careers in Ireland.

"The IRFU and Ulster Rugby note the verdict handed down today at the Belfast Crown Court in relation to the case brought against Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding," read a joint IRFU and Ulster Rugby statement.

"We wish to acknowledge that this has undoubtedly been a difficult and extremely traumatic time for all involved.

"To respect the judicial proceedings the IRFU and Ulster Rugby postponed any internal review of the matter with the players, until the proceedings concluded.

"IRFU and Ulster Rugby officials will review the matter, in line with existing procedures for all contracted players.

"A Review Committee, made up of senior representatives of the IRFU and Ulster Rugby, has been appointed and will conclude its review as soon as practicable. The players will continue to be relieved of all duties while the Review Committee is in process and determining its findings."

Jackson and Olding may now be able to relaunch their careers, but Ireland and Ulster will take time before making any further decisions.

It is understood too however, that a number of top clubs in England and France are monitoring Jackson's situation, which could provide another route back into frontline action.

Outside the court, Jackson's solicitor, Joe McVeigh, said that his client's priority is 'to return to work'.

"As for Paddy, his main priority now is to return to work, that means getting back on the rugby pitch, and representing his province and his country," McVeigh said.

Press Association

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