One charge of rape against Ulster star dropped
NEWS: One charge of rape against Ulster centre Stuart Olding has been dropped ahead of trial.
Both Ulster’s Paddy Jackson and Olding are charged with raping the same woman in a south Belfast residence in 2016.
Both players deny all of the charges against them.
A pre-trial hearing heard yesterday that the prosecution is not proceeding with one of the rape charges against Olding because of additional forensic evidence be proffered.
The court heard: “The prosecution have today confirmed that they will no longer be proceeding with the charge of vaginal rape against Stuart Olding. No evidence will now be offered by the prosecution in respect of this charge and Mr Olding will be acquitted of this count of rape.
“The prosecution acknowledges that Mr Olding always denied the offence of vaginal rape and challenged the adequacy of the evidence against him in respect of this charge at two hearings during 2017 which the prosecution successfully opposed, on the basis of the forensic evidence that the prosecution had obtained at that time.
“The prosecution is not proceeding with this count as a result of additional forensic evidence now available. Had that evidence been available at an earlier stage, the vaginal rape charge would not have been brought against Mr Olding at any time.
“The prosecution is proceeding with the remaining count of oral rape against Mr Olding.”
Olding will still face an oral rape charge.
Ulster flyhalf Jackson is charged with one count of rape and one count of sexual assault.
The IRFU have stood down both players until the conclusion of the case, which is due before the Crown Court early in 2018. Two other men have also been charged with more minor offences relating to the same incident. Jackson has been capped 25 times for Ireland while Olding has been capped four times for Ireland.