Father of Paddy Jackson secures judgment in libel action over false claims on Twitter
It was falsely claimed Peter Jackson offered to pay off complainant in his son’s rape trial
Paddy Jackson with his father Peter arriving at a Belfast court for his son’s rape trial. At the conclusion of the trial Paddy Jackson (27) and former team-mate Stuart Olding (26), were both unanimously acquitted of raping the same woman. File photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images
The father of former Ireland and Ulster rugby star Paddy Jackson has secured judgment in a libel action over false claims that he offered to pay off the complainant in his son’s high-profile rape trial.
Peter Jackson sued when the unfounded allegations appeared on Twitter last year.
The postings came after 27-year-old Paddy Jackson and former team-mate Stuart Olding (26), were both unanimously acquitted of raping the same woman.
Judgment was entered against one Dublin-based woman after no defence was filed in the case against her.
Any damages are expected to be assessed once the second lawsuit is dealt with.
Both cases relate to Twitter activity in April 2018 - a month after the two rugby players were cleared of rape in Belfast.
In a statement following the outcome reached in the first libel action, Peter Jackson insisted that he had to face up to those behind the fictitious accusations.
Mr Jackson said: “I realised that I simply had to face up to the people responsible for posting these false allegations.
“I hope that my actions in helping to bring perpetrators of fabricated claims to justice will inspire and open the doors for others who have suffered at the hands of similar defamatory posts.”
He added that he strongly believed it had been “appropriate and just” to bring court proceedings.
“If it encourages others to stand up for what is right in the face of false accusations here in Northern Ireland, on the island of Ireland and beyond these shores, then this will have all been worthwhile in the face of such adversity.”
Mr Jackson’s lawyer, Kevin Winters of KRW Law, confirmed the background to the libel action.
“A damaging allegation was made that he tried to pay off the complainant in a failed criminal prosecution against his son Patrick Jackson, ” the solicitor said.
“I commend Peter Jackson’s bravery in stepping forward to protect his good name. His case was taken against a difficult background of heavy social media activity.”
With proceedings continuing against the second defendant, Mr Winters added: “The judicial system is still playing catch-up in this area, but I think the case marks an important step in addressing the current imbalance.”