NRL player Jack de Belin and his friend Callan Sinclair have been found not guilty of one of six charges relating to the alleged sexual assault of a woman in Wollongong.
- It was the second hung jury on the charges against the pair
- The jury said it was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on five of the charges
- Police prosecutors will decide by the end of the month if they’ll take the remaining counts to a third trial
The jury has been discharged in relation to the other five counts after they were unable to reach a unanimous or majority verdict.
Mr de Belin remained impassive as the verdict was read out but Mr Sinclair, sitting beside him, let out a loud sigh of relief
St George Illawarra Dragons forward Mr de Belin and Mr Sinclair were accused of raping a 19-year-old woman in a North Wollongong unit after meeting her in a nightclub in December 2018.
The prosecution alleged the men forced the woman to have sex against her will and that she felt she couldn’t fight back.
Mr de Belin and Mr Sinclair both denied the charges.
The jury had been deliberating for five days last week and after 10:00am this morning had sent a note to the judge which said it had reached a not guilty verdict on the charge.
However, it was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on the other five charges and were asked by the judge to keep trying.
About two hours later, a second note came for the judge which said the jury was firm and resolute in its opinion it would not be able to reach a resolution, even with extra time.
At 2:30pm, another note came for the judge which stated that each jury member was steadfast in their opinion.
Discharging the jury, Judge Nicole Noman thanked them for their “keen interest” in the trial and their “dedication to the task”.
It was the second hung jury on the charges against the pair.
During this trial, the court heard that Mr de Belin “didn’t take no for an answer” when he and Mr Sinclair allegedly raped the teenager and that the incident left the woman “dead inside” and “numb”.
The crown prosecutor said the trio met up on the dance floor of the Mr Crown nightclub and that Mr de Belin thought the woman might “be keen” for a threesome.
The court heard Mr de Belin pinned the woman down and that she sustained bruising to her neck and chest before she was assaulted by both men.
In recorded evidence played to the jury, Mr de Belin was asked by the prosecutor if he ever thought the woman wasn’t consenting to the sex that took place in his cousin’s unit.
He replied: “No I did not”.
Mr de Belin said he was in shock when Mr Sinclair told him the next day that the woman was alleging she had been raped.
He described how he discussed sexual positions with the woman and denied her claim that he and Mr Sinclair were cheering each other on as they had sex with her.
He also denied that the woman was telling him to stop and that he ignored her and she seemed to enjoy it.
The matter will be back in court at the end of the month where police prosecutors are likely to decide whether they’ll take the remaining counts to a third trial.
Mr De Belin was the first NRL player to be stood down under the Australian Rugby League Commission’s “no-fault stand down” policy, which stipulates players be benched while they stand accused of serious crimes.
In a statement, the Dragons said he remained subject to the stand-down policy.
“The next steps concerning all facets of matter are yet to be established,” it said.
“The Dragons will continue to provide the necessary welfare support to de Belin and his family.
“As this remains a legal matter, the club will make no further comment at this time.”