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