Juror who posted comments about rugby rape trial avoids prosecution

Northern Ireland’s attorney general decides not to press contempt charges

A juror who made online comments about the rape trial involving former Ireland rugby internationals Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding will not face charges.

In March, shortly after the trial in which Mr Jackson and Mr Olding, and two others facing lesser charges were acquitted, the juror posted a number of comments about the trial.

The North's Public Prosecution Service referring the matter to the office of the Lord Chief Justice, Sir Declan Morgan, the most senior judge in Northern Ireland.

His office in turn referred the matter to the office of the North's attorney general, John Larkin, QC, and to "other relevant authorities".

At the time the juror said they had not commented on anything related to the deliberations, and therefore were not in breach of the judge’s order that jurors must not discuss them.

A spokeswoman for the Lord Chief Justice said on Thursday the “attorney general has decided not to institute proceedings for contempt against the juror”.

On Wednesday, Sean McFarland (36) of Rinnalea Gardens in west Belfast, who published the name of the woman at the centre of the rape trial, was fined £300. He was convicted of breaching a lifetime ban on reporting the identity of the complainant in the case. He was the first person in Northern Ireland to be prosecuted for the offence.