Stuart Olding has released a statement following the conclusion of the Belfast rape trial on Wednesday afternoon.
After less than four hours of deliberation, a Belfast jury acquitted Paddy Jackson, Stuart Olding and two other defendants on all charges.
Following the verdict, the IRFU and Ulster Rugby released a joint statement announcing that the players would not be considered for selection and will continue to be relieved of their duties until their own internal review determines its findings.
Following the verdict, Paddy Jackson’s legal team released a statement slamming the social media conversation that surrounded the trial while now, Stuart Olding’s solicitor, Paul Dougan, also read out a statement on behalf of his client.
Reading the statement, Mr Dougan said the following on behalf of Mr Olding – who he said was in a ‘heightened state of emotion’:
I want to start by thanking the judge and the jury for their time and patience throughout this long trial.
I am very relieved that the jury has accepted my explanation as to what occurred.
I want to acknowledge publicly that though I committed no criminal offence on the evening of the 28th of June 2016, I regret deeply the events of that evening.
I want to acknowledge that the complainant came to court and gave evidence about her perception of those events.
I am sorry for the hurt that was caused to the complainant. It was never my intention to cause any upset to anyone on that night.
I don’t agree with her perception of events, and I maintain that everything that happened that evening was consensual.
I have consistently told the truth to the police and the court when asked to account for my conduct.
The Stuart Olding who has been portrayed over the past nine weeks in this trial is not the real Stuart Olding.
I am fiercely proud to represent my province and my country. I have worked very hard to achieve those goals.
I hope to be able to prove myself going forward in all aspects of my life.
I would like to thank my legal team for their hard work and their belief in me throughout.
And finally to my family, thank you all for standing by me from the beginning.