Irish rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding charged in relation to alleged rape
Ulster and Irish rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding are among four men who have been charged by the PSNI in relation to an alleged rape.
The incident is alleged to have taken place at a property in south Belfast on June 28, 2016.
Both players have been stood down from their duties with Ulster and Ireland until the process surrounding the case is concluded.
Mr Jackson (25) and Mr Olding (24), who deny any wrongdoing, were arrested, interviewed and released from custody in June last year and have now been charged according to a statement from Ulster Rugby and the IRFU.
The joint statement read: "The IRFU and Ulster Rugby are aware that Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding have been charged by the PSNI in relation to serious allegations made against them.
"The players have cooperated fully and strenuously deny the charges.
"The IRFU and Ulster Rugby take these allegations extremely seriously.
"To allow the players time to address this matter fully Ulster Rugby and the IRFU have agreed that they be relieved of their duties and obligations until the conclusion of this process. Appropriate support structures will be put in place with them during this time.
"As this is a matter for the Public Prosecution Service it would be inappropriate to comment further."
A statement from the Public Prosecution Service confirmed that four men have been charged in relation to the alleged incident.
A PPS spokesperson said: “Following a careful review of all of the available evidence, in accordance with our Code for Prosecutors, it has been decided that there is sufficient evidence to prosecute four individuals as follows:
“One man is being prosecuted on a charge of rape contrary to Article 5 (1) of the Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008 and a charge of sexual assault contrary to Article 6 (1) of the Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008.
“A second man is being prosecuted on two charges of rape, contrary to Article 5 (1) of the Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008.
“A third man is being prosecuted for an offence contrary to Article 70 of the Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008.
“A fourth man is being prosecuted for doing an act with intent to pervert the course of public justice contrary to Common Law and with withholding information contrary to Section 5 (1) of the Criminal Law Act (Northern Ireland) 1967.”