The Irish outhalf and rugby star Paddy Jackson has not made the trip to Chicago with his teammates to face the world champion New Zealand All-Blacks this weekend because of an arrest in Belfast over an alleged sexual offense. Also brought in for questioning was Jackson’s Ulster teammate Stuart Olding.
The men were arrested by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) in June and were released. The arrests stem from an alleged incident in Belfast on June 28. Both men vehemently deny the accusations.
"Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding have been assisting the PSNI with inquiries," a statement from Ulster Rugby said.
"The players deny any wrongdoing and have not been charged with any offense. As no charges have been brought forward, it would be inappropriate to comment further."
Jackson, 24, had been due to travel to Chicago with the Irish squad. The team issued a statement saying he had not been included in the traveling party for “personal reasons.”
Jackson has been capped 16 times for Ireland. His legal team said he flatly denies the allegation.
"We are both disappointed and indeed concerned that this information has been leaked to the press before the investigation has concluded and well in advance of any final decision. This has the potential to be prejudicial to our client’s interests,” a statement from KRW Law said.
"We will not hesitate to take all necessary steps to protect his legal position as he is entitled to the presumption of innocence. We urge the media to restrain from any damaging speculation."
A PSNI statement said, "Police arrested two men aged 24 and one man aged 23 on Thursday, 30th June in relation to a number of sexual offenses, reported to have taken place at a property in south Belfast, on 28th June.
"The men have been interviewed and released from custody. A file will be prepared for submission to the PPS. A fourth man aged 24, will be reported to the PPS in relation to this incident for perverting the course of justice."
Olding, 23, has been capped four times for Ireland. A hip flexor injury is keeping him on the sidelines.