Chants of “I believe her” and “I stand with her” rang through cities across Ireland as hundreds turned out to protest the Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding rape trial verdict.
Hundreds of protesters turned out in Belfast, Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford today to protest the verdict in the Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding rape trial. The Ulster and Ireland rugby players were acquitted of rape in the Belfast Crown Court on Wednesday following a high-profile eight-week trial and three hours and 45 minutes of deliberation from the eight-man and three-woman jury.
Hours after they and two others, Blane McIlroy and Rory Harrison, were found not guilty, plans were put in place to protest the way in which rape is tried in Ireland, with large groups turning out to rally on Thursday afternoon and #IBelieveHer trending on social media throughout the day.
Belfast (where the trial took place):
Solidarity rally with Belfast rape complainant blocking O’Connell street pic.twitter.com/70YTzr1njJ— Juliette Gash (@JulietteGash) March 29, 2018
Both Jackson, 26, and Olding, 25, were standing trial for the rape of the same woman in Jackson’s bedroom in his home in south Belfast on June 28, 2016. Blane McIlroy was also accused of exposure while a fourth man Rory Harrison was charged with perverting the course of justice and withholding information. All four were found not guilty.
The alleged incident was said to have taken place in June 2016 when the four men accused and four women went to Jackson’s house in south Belfast after a night out. Jackson was accused of following one of the women, a 19-year-old student, upstairs when she went to retrieve her purse. She claimed he then pushed her onto his bed and raped her.
Olding was also accused of raping the same woman, while McIlroy was accused of entering the bedroom naked and asking the woman for sex. Harrison was accused of covering up the alleged rape by misleading police and withholding information during the investigation.
Jackson has consistently denied having sex with the woman while Olding claimed the oral sex was consensual.
Did you protest today? Where did you go and why? Let us know in the comments section, below.