Ulster duo charged with rape

Ulster duo Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding have been charged with rape following an incident at a house party in South Belfast.

Jackson and Olding were arrested in June 2016 with two other men and questioned about allegations of sexual assault.

The PPS confirmed there was now sufficient evidence to charge the men with rape.

Both Jackson and Olding deny the allegations.

The Public Prosecution Service 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."

Lawyers representing Jackson and Olding confirmed their clients are to be charged with rape.

Another man is to be charged with a sexual offence and a fourth man is to be charged with intent to defeat the ends of justice.

Lawyer Joe Rice, representing Stuart Olding said: "I would like to point out that my client has fully co-operated with the investigation and is not on any bail conditions and is of previous good character.

"He should be allowed to uphold his right to the presumption of innocence and rejects any allegation of wrongdoing and is confident his name will be cleared through the courts."

In a similar statement, Paddy Jackson's lawyer Kevin Winters said: "He rejects the allegations completely and we're very disappointed at the PPS decision to prosecute on these particular facts."

"We say there is no basis for the decision to prosecute and we are confident that our client will be cleared of any charge."

The PPS statement added: "As the criminal proceedings against these individuals have commenced and each has a right to a fair trial, it is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice proceedings."

All four men are due to appear in court next month.