FORMER Ulster rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding cannot recoup their legal costs following their rape trial acquittal, a judge has ruled.
Jackson, 26, and Olding, 25, were unanimously found not guilty in March of raping the same woman at a house party in June 2016.
Jackson privately funded his defence while Olding successfully applied for legal aid halfway through the nine-week trial.
BBC News NI reports that Jackson’s costs are estimated at £450,000, with Olding’s believed to be around £150,000.
However judge Patricia Smyth, who oversaw the rape trial, has refused the pair’s bid, saying the decision to prosecute the men was justified.
“This was a highly complex police investigation and the prosecution was warranted, albeit the jury did not consider that the charges had been proved beyond reasonable doubt,” she said.
“Having considered all of the relevant factors, I am satisfied that there is no basis for exercising my discretion in the applicants’ favour,” she added.
“The applications are therefore dismissed.”
Both players had their contracts revoked by Ireland and Ulster and now play for clubs in France.
Two other men on trial with Jackson and Olding were also found not guilty.
Blane McIlroy, 26, was acquitted of one count of exposure, while Rory Harrison, 25, was acquitted of perverting the course of justice and withholding information.