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Rory Best says he was advised to attend trial of Ulster teammates

The Ireland captain spoke after his side’s win in Paris in the Six Nations.

Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

RORY BEST HAS made a statement explaining that he attended the ongoing trial of Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding in Belfast on Wednesday because he has been called as a character witness.

Ireland and Ulster player Paddy Jackson (26) and his teammate Stuart Olding (24) are accused of raping a woman in the bedroom of Jackson’s south Belfast home in June 2016. Jackson is facing an additional charge of sexual assault.

Both men deny all the charges.

Ireland captain Best spoke at a press conference immediately after his side’s 15-13 win over France in Paris in the Six Nations.

Asked if he had IRFU permission to attend the trial on Wednesday, Best answered:

“We sign out on a Tuesday night and Wednesday is our day off, so technically we don’t need, or we don’t need permission to do stuff in our own time.

“The reason I was there is obviously it’s on the record that I’ve been called as a character witness and I was advised that it was important that I got both sides of the story so I could make an informed decision about that.

“Because it’s an ongoing legal matter, I will not make any further comment other than that.”

The42 understands Best was advised to attend the proceedings as he is on a list of potential character references for at least one of the accused.

Yesterday, Best had opted not to comment on his attendance at the trial.

Best was asked why he had decided to attend the trial and replied:

“I have no comment.”

Best was also asked if he had attended with IRFU permission and replied:

“No comment.”

The IRFU’s media officer then stepped in to say that Best would not be answering any questions in relation to the issue of his attendance of the trial.

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Murray Kinsella

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