Former Ireland and Ulster rugby star Paddy Wallace has been acquitted of harassing his estranged wife.

A judge at Belfast Magistrates' Court dismissed the charge against the retired sportsman after identifying inconsistencies in Tina Wallace's evidence.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall also refused a prosecution application to impose a restraining order.

Mr Wallace, 37, was accused of subjecting his wife to harassment over two dates in May last year.

By that stage the couple had split after 11 years of marriage, with the ex-rugby star moving out of the family home in east Belfast.

The court was told he sent 41-year-old Mrs Wallace a number of text messages on 1 May.

During a contested hearing she claimed he appeared at the kitchen window of the house while a male friend was present.

It was also alleged that her husband tried to take photographs.

Mr Wallace, capped 30 times in an international career which involved being part of Ireland's 2009 Glam Slam-winning team, denied the allegations.

His barrister, Richard McConkey, challenged the account during cross-examination of the alleged victim.

Judge Bagnall stressed that successful prosecution on a harassment charge requires a course of conduct of at least two incidents.

She pointed to discrepancies between the evidence given of the second alleged incident and an account given in separate proceedings.

The judge said it was unfortunate police did not obtain a statement from the witness in the house.

"I cannot be satisfied to the relevant standard what happened on that date," she said.

"In those circumstances I have to dismiss the charge."

Mr Wallace, of Station Road in Holywood, Co Down, left the court without commenting on the case.

His lawyer, Jonathan Burke of McConnell Kelly Solicitors, said: "Mr Wallace is pleased with the outcome of today's hearing and wishes to thank his legal team, friends and family for their support at this difficult time.

"He now wants to move on with his life and focus on his two children."