The three men accused of the rape and sexual assault of Louise Nicholas have been found not guilty by a jury at the High Court in Auckland this afternooon.

Assistant Police Commissioner Clint Rickards and former police colleagues Bob Schollum and Brad Shipton had denied a total of 20 charges.

There were emotional scenes in the courtroom as they gave their verdict at around 3pm. Family and supporters of the three men cried and hugged each other.

Schollum and Shipton also cried, Newstalk ZB reported, while Rickards showed little emotion.

The jury had spent more than two days considering its verdict.

Mrs Nicholas had alleged that between September 1985 and December 1986, Shipton and Rickards visited her Rotorua flat between six and 12 times uninvited for sex she did not consent to.

She had also alleged that in January 1986 Schollum picked her up while she was walking home from her job at the BNZ Bank and took her to a police house where the trio took turns raping her before indecently assaulting her with a police baton.