UPDATE: Zach Kibirige was found unanimously not guilty of four counts of rape, attempted rape, sexual assault and another serious sexual assault by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court on August 9, 2016.
His club Newcastle Falcons said in statement after the verdict: “This has been an extremely stressful time for Zach, and his hugely promising rugby career has effectively been put on hold during this very difficult period.
“The club are satisfied that their faith in Zach has been borne out by the verdict in his trial.
“Zach remains an important member of the club’s playing staff and is available for all rugby and non-rugby-related duties.”
The original article detailing a prior report of the case is preserved below.
Newcastle and England U20 wing Zach Kibirige is on Thursday set to stand trial on sex charges, which allegedly date back to 2015.
According to Chronicle Live, he faces accusations of seven sexual offences. He denies four offences of rape, one of sexual assault, one of attempted rape and one of assault by penetration. The 21-year-old appeared at Newcastle Crown Court for a pre-trial hearing on Wednesday.
“Newcastle Falcons can confirm that they are aware of the charges brought by Northumbria Police against Zach Kibirige, and recognise the nature of these allegations,” a Falcons spokesperson told the local website, with the wing having come through the club’s Academy system.
“Upon learning of the alleged incident the club instigated an internal investigation. This investigation will conclude on completion of all legal proceedings.
“During this period Zach has continued to train with the club and has received appropriate support, but has been unavailable for any playing, commercial or community duties.
“Neither the player nor the club will be making any further comment on this matter.”