Newspaper editorials dedicated to the high-profile trial of rugby players
ALONGSIDE numerous pages of coverage of the acquittals of rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding, unsuprisingly most newspaper editorials were also dedicated to the high-profile trial.
Most publications drew on the issues surrounding the social media coverage of the case.
The headline of the Belfast Telegraph's leading article summed up its concerns, stating that the "kangaroo court of social media must be brought to heel".
It reflected on how "comment on social media, particularly Twitter, was unrestrained and created a toxic environment" during the trial.
"The all-pervading nature of social media obviously poses an immense challenge to those engaged in the justice system and their efforts to ensure the integrity of the legal process," it said.
"Quite what can be done is a question which will tax the minds of many in the future."
The Daily Mirror said it believed the "trial was a test of our times" in its editorial and said the case had "illicited some strident viewpoints".
It highlighted the issues surrounding how the case was played out in the "public glare", with social media users freely commenting on the twists and turns of the case.
"For such intimate, even sordid, details of his sexual encounter to be shared with the world made for uncomfortable reading," it said.
"And few judicial pursuits before have been conducted in the public glare that the Ulster Rugby trial was. That public glare was characterised at times with commentary, mostly on social media, which was at best rash."
The Irish Times said the nine-week trial had highlighted it was a "system in need of change".
It said the trial "underlined the wider structural flaws that contribute to such a low rate of reporting of sexual offences".
The newspaper also highlighted the difference between the judicial systems on both sides of the border, including how members of the public are not allowed into courtrooms of such cases in the Republic.
"Any trial process must vindicate the rights of the complainant and the accused," it stated.
The Irish Daily Mail also concentrated on the social media element related to the trial in its editorial, asking readers, "whatever happened to basic morality?".
It said "there has been much criticism, particularly on social media, of the verdict", but it was "not for us to second-guess why the jury found as it did".
The leader also looked at the behaviour of the four defendants in relation to the "private messages to each other".
"These men showed no regard for any of the women they discussed and their attitudes to sex and alcohol illustrates a culture of excess, completely absent of what used to be a key attribute for those in the public eye - propriety," it said.
The Irish Independent leader concluded: "It this is what young men aspire to, then we have a problem - but if it is what young women can expect to experience should they find themselves at the centre of an alleged rape, we may have an even graver one."
- Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding found not guilty of rape
- Allison Morris: There were even giggles in the public gallery as graphic details of alleged rape were read out (Premium)
- Alleged victim's name was posted on comments section of an online news site
- Relatives clasped each others' hands and openly wept as verdicts delivered
- Victims' support group calls for review into how trials are conducted
- Allison Morris: I have two daughters and would not encourage them to go through retraumatising rape trial (Premium)
- One of the most expensive rape trials in UK judicial history
- 'I Believe Her' rallies planned across Ireland
- Ireland rugby captain Rory Best's decision to attend court on day two of the rape trial provoked a storm of criticism
- About the rugby rape trial judge Patricia Smyth
- PSNI says woman at centre of trial 'upset and disappointed' at verdict
- Paddy Jackson's lawyers say status as famous sportsman 'drove the decision to prosecute'
- Paddy Jackson's lawyers call for crackdown on 'vile' social media commentary during criminal proceedings
- Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding 'will continue to be relieved of all duties' as review takes place
- Stuart Olding faces major battle to return to pinnacle of his sport
- Paddy Jackson had unwavering support from his parents
- Stuart Olding: I deeply regret events of that evening... I am sorry for the hurt caused to the complainant
- Blane McIlroy admitted being prone to exaggeration
- Rory Harrison had been working in Australia before he flew home to stand trial
- Video: Paddy Jackson thanks judge and jury for fair trial
- Public Prosecution Service: 'Ultimately right' rugby rape case was brought to trial