#IBelieveHer rallies taking place nationwide in aftermath of Belfast rape trial

Update 12.30pm:Crowds have gathered in cities all over Ireland in support of rape victims.

It follows the acquittal yesterday of all four defendants in the Belfast rape trial.

Ireland and Ulster rugby player Paddy Jackson, 26, was found not guilty of rape and sexual assault after a trial at Belfast Crown Court.

His team-mate Stuart Olding, 25, was also found not guilty of rape.

The verdicts were returned after the jury had deliberated for three hours and 45 minutes.

The jury of eight men and three women also found Blane McIlroy, 26, not guilty of exposure and Rory Harrison, 25, not guilty of perverting the course of justice and withholding information.


Hundreds of demonstrators turned out this afternoon at a rally in Dublin in solidarity with the complainant in the Belfast rape case.

They were carrying placards in support of the young woman.




8am: Dublin rally taking place in support of rape victims following outcome of Belfast trial

A rally will take place in Dublin this afternoon in support of rape victims.

Organisers say they are holding the event following the outcome of the Belfast rape trial.

They are angry at how the complainant was treated throughout the 9-week trial - feeling it will deter any future victims of rape from pursuing cases.

Demonstrators will gather at the Spire from 12.30pm.

Deputy Ruth Coppinger is one of the organisers of the rally.

Deputy Coppinger is calling for the issue of consent to be discussed at a national level following the conclusion of the Belfast Rape Trial.

She said: "This will be an opportunity for people to stand with rape victims.

"I think the coverage by the media was of huge concern and it is felt that the young woman was effectively put on trial subject to character assassination.

"There is now a reaction, what are we going to do about the level of violence in society?"

The public nature of the trial and its accompanying commentary on Twitter has raised questions about the use of social media during proceedings.

Barrister Michael O’Higgins does not think any trials have been negatively affected – yet.

He said:

I think judges have said on occasion that this is something that has to be closed down and will be closed down if people don't regulate it themselves.

- Digital Desk

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