Jack de Belin has been found not guilty of a rape charge but now faces the prospect of a third criminal trial after a jury failed to reach a verdict on five charges. Above, the footballer appears grim as he leaves a Sydney court on Monday
A jury has sensationally found footballer Jack de Belin not guilty of a rape charge but has been discharged after failing to a reach a verdict on five further counts.
That means the suspended St George Illawarra forward, 30, and his friend Callan Sinclair, 24, face the prospect of a third criminal trial.
Both men appeared grim as they left Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court following the decision about 3pm on Monday afternoon.
De Belin and Sinclair have always insisted they had a ‘consensual’ threesome with a 19-year-old woman at a North Wollongong unit following a dance floor rendezvous in December 2018.
But prosecutors alleged the pair ‘took turns’ raping the crying young woman that evening.
Monday’s less-than-decisive outcome could result in yet another retrial for De Belin – who has been suspended by the NRL under its no-fault stand down policy since March 2019 – and Sinclair. A jury in the pair’s first criminal trial last November likewise failed to reach a verdict.
The charges could also be withdrawn altogether, depending upon whether the Director of Public Prosecutions elects to pursue the matter.
The saga’s not over: De Belin was wordless as he left Downing Centre District Court after a second jury failed to reach a majority or unanimous decision about five of the six charges against him. A jury at a separate trial likewise failed to reach a verdict
Sinclair likewise kept mum as he and a crowd of supporters left the court this afternoon
WHAT ARE THE CHARGES JACK DE BELIN AND CALLAN SINCLAIR FACED?
Charge one: De Belin is accused of inflicting bodily harm on the 19-year-old woman during an alleged sexual assault
Charge two: Sinclair is accused of being part of a joint criminal enterprise when De Belin assault the woman
Charges three, four and five: Sexual intercourse without consent in company charges, relating to vaginal and oral sex acts allegedly committed by the men
Charge six: De Belin anally raped the woman in company while Sinclair was in another room
The jury did find both men not guilty of a single charge of sexual assault in company, beyond all reasonable doubt.
That charge was that De Belin had allegedly penetrated the woman’s anus without consent that night, in company with Sinclair.
The trial heard Sinclair was in the shower at the time of the alleged incident.
De Belin described the anal penetration as accidental and apologised at trial.
While the jury rejected that charge they were split on five further offences.
They couldn’t break the deadlock, even when the judge granted them the power to deliver an 11-1 majority verdict.
The charges still outstanding are: that De Belin allegedly inflicted bodily harm on the woman during a sexual assault.
That Sinclair was part of a joint criminal enterprise when de Belin allegedly assaulted the woman.
And there are three further charges of sexual assault in company relating to vaginal and oral sex acts committed by the men when they ‘took turns’.
The court heard this afternoon that each juror was ‘resolute and firm’ in their positions and the deadlock was unlikely to be broken with more time.
The hung jury was dismissed at 3pm by Judge Nicole Noman.
The trial featured 13 days of evidence and almost six full days of deliberations. The case will return to court on May 28.
Judge Noman had on Monday morning ordered the jury to keep trying to reach a verdict on the other charges by reaching a majority verdict.
The St George Illawarra forward, 30, has been benched while facing the charges in court
In a note to the judge read in court on Monday, the jury said they have ‘been through a rigorous process of examining all of the evidence proferred in the trial’ but could only reach a decision on the one charge.
When asked if the jury could reach unanimous verdicts on the five charges with more time, the juror’s foreperson told the judge ‘definitely not’.
The judge told the jurors that past experience showed juries can often agree if given enough time to consider and discuss the issues. But it was not to be.
Over a 13-day trial, the jury heard evidence that the teenager, who already knew Sinclair, met de Belin on the dancefloor during Wollongong’s Santa Public Crawl.
The court heard the trio then travelled to de Belin’s cousin’s apartment in North Wollongong.
There, de Belin allegedly attacked the woman in the bedroom of the unit after using the bathroom, the jury was told.
The woman said she told the men to stop and then ‘just let it happen’, crying as the men ‘took turns’.
The men both testified the sexual encounter was consensual, with the woman acting ‘normal’ and appearing to enjoy it.