Po­lice probe as woman in rugby rape case is named on­line – and ju­ror posts on in­ter­net

Daily Mail - - Confidential - By Fionn Har­g­reaves

PO­LICE are in­ves­ti­gat­ing claims that the woman who ac­cused two rugby play­ers of rap­ing her has been named on so­cial me­dia.

Paddy Jack­son, 26, and team-mate Stu­art Old­ing, 25, were ac­quit­ted of rap­ing the 19-year-old.

But the not-guilty ver­dict sparked thou­sands of pro­test­ers tak­ing to the streets on both sides of the Ir­ish bor­der.

A pho­to­graph of their ac­cuser, who can­not be iden­ti­fied for le­gal rea­sons, was al­legedly shared on a mes­sag­ing site af­ter the ver­dict, while the Po­lice Ser­vice of North­ern Ire­land (PSNI) has ques­tioned two peo­ple about al­leged breaches of the com­plainants’ life­long right to anonymity.

It came as the at­tor­ney gen­eral of North­ern Ire­land in­ves­ti­gated on­line com­ments made by a ju­ror who sat on the case.

The com­ments – said to be ‘fairly ac­cu­rate’ re­marks on the trial – were re­port­edly writ­ten on in­ter­net fo­rum Broad­sheet.ie and re­ported to the Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tion Ser­vice. Af­ter be­ing told by the Lord Chief Jus­tice’s of­fice to re­move the post, the ju­ror told the Ir­ish Times on Thurs­day: ‘I’m in big trou­ble. I’m sit­ting here in the kitchen wait­ing for the cops to ar­rive, two PSNI con­sta­bles to ar­rive and I’m go­ing to be hand­cuffed away.’

The ju­ror claimed they had not dis­closed any de­tails of the de­lib­er­a­tions, which would be il­le­gal. How­ever, the at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice con­firmed the mat­ter had been re­ferred to the re­gion’s se­nior law of­fi­cer by Lord Chief Jus­tice Sir De­clan Mor­gan.

Ul­ster and Ire­land stars Mr Jack­son and Mr Old­ing were ac­quit­ted at Belfast Crown Court af­ter less than four hours of de­lib­er­a­tions. Mr Jack­son was also found not guilty of sex­ual as­sault. Two other men were ac­quit­ted of lesser charges re­lated to the same in­ci­dent.

Paul Dougan, Mr Old­ing’s so­lic­i­tor, also crit­i­cised mem­bers of the pub­lic for com­ment­ing on the case on so­cial me­dia dur­ing the trial. He told the BBC: ‘They need to ap­pre­ci­ate the fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples that un­der­pin our crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem.’

The PSNI said that two files had been sent to the Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tion Ser­vice for con­sid­er­a­tion.

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