The jury in the rape trial against NRL star Jack de Belin from St. George Illawarra Dragons and Shellharbour Sharks player Callan Sinclair failed to reach a verdict.
Despite being asked to consider further after the first division and trial judge Andrew Haesler’s question as to whether a majority judgment could be reached, the jury announced that after nine accumulated hours it would not be possible to reach an agreement on the indictment against the men to score considering the evidence.
29 year old St. George Illawarra footballer Jack de Belin has pleaded guilty to aggravating sexual assault. Photo credit: Kate Geraghty
Mr. Sinclair, 23, hung his head in the dock while Mr. de Belin stared straight ahead and sighs could be heard from the public gallery of the NSW District Court in Wollongong as the foreman said the jury couldn’t get one either unanimous judgment or majority judgment.
When asked whether the jury could make a decision if there was more time, the foreman replied: « Absolutely not. «
Judge Haesler then made the decision to dismiss the jury. The matter will be back on trial Wednesday to determine the future of the trial.
Judge Haesler had encouraged the jury on Monday before to consider further. Experience has shown that juries, despite strong differences of opinion, could reach unanimous judgments if they were given more time.
With a hanging jury paving the way for retrial, the future of Mr de Belin’s playing career has continued to be questioned with serious doubts two years after he left due to the NRL’s controversial, flawless shutdown rule in which players play Overhead allegations are suspended from the game.
Mr. de Belin and Mr. Sinclair both pleaded not guilty to five charges each of aggravated sexual assault on allegations that they had committed in the early hours of the 9th. December 2018, after a night together, a 19-year-old woman raped in a Wollongong apartment dancing with her in a nearby nightclub. They claim that the encounter with the woman was entirely consensual.
The woman said she went into the apartment to use the toilet – she believed it would be a detour for the men to charge their phones before going to another nightclub – before Mr de Belin naked hers Taking off clothes and forcing him to lie down on her and put his hand around her neck.
« They held my body up, I was dead inside, I was deaf, I was crying and that was all I did, » the woman said. She went to the police the afternoon after the encounter after being told to do so by a manager at work.
Mr de Belin told the jury that he suggested giving the woman a threesome at the bar.
« I went to her and said, ‘Me, you and Cal’ and she replied, ‘But you have a girlfriend,' » said Mr de Belin. « I replied, ‘I can keep a secret if you can. Then she winked back and smiled. «
He later denied forcing the woman to choke her and ignore her pleas for him to stop.
The jury overheard intercepted phone calls with both men, in which they adamantly deny themselves, family and friends that the incident involved sexual assault. Mr de Belin called on Mr Sinclair to tell the truth if he is approached by the police.
Mr de Belin told NSW Blues teammate Angus Crichton in 2018 that his image was tarnished after he saw a « bun » (a slang term in the rugby league for group sex) with « a little girl who hanging around « . . He said his pregnant partner, Alyce Taylor, got « skitzy » when she found out.
The men also both pointed out that the woman had brought an Uber with her to return to Wollongong after leaving the apartment. The woman said she was unable to escape the men and escaped while standing in line for Fever, another nightclub.
Mr. Campbell attacked several inconsistencies in the woman’s evidence compared to the objective evidence from video surveillance inside Mr. Crown and after they left the venue, which corroborated other witnesses’ reports, including the fact that she saw a « V. » « Gesture made in the club, which means oral sex.
During its closure, Mr Campbell informed the jury that the woman gave 19 wrong answers when faced with evidence that a man who lived in the apartment had come to the bedroom door while she and Mr de Belin were doing it were naked.
This man, a schoolteacher named Troy Martin, initially lied to the police and said he had never seen what happened in the bedroom so as not to whistle about Mr de Belin’s cheating. He later changed his story and said he saw the woman ask Mr. de Belin, « Who was that? » when he stood at the door.
The woman denied ever seeing any other man, but two of her co-workers said she said something about it when she came to work.
Attorney David Scully said the woman was simply acting like « a 19-year-old at Christmas time » and was a convincing witness whose evidence of what happened in the apartment the jury could unequivocally accept.
Former Investigator Detective Senior Constable Shawn Adams also admitted scrolling through proprietary messages between Mr. de Belin and his attorney on the soccer player’s seized Nokia phone. Then he admitted lying to the court because he knew the news had to do with the case.
While Mr. Scully described the attack on the detective’s credibility as a « red herring », Mr. Campbell said it was fundamental to the case that was marred by the detective’s actions.
He said Mr de Belin cheated on Ms. Taylor, but it was not a moral judgment.
« This is a criminal court that has been used by each of you to determine whether a serious crime has occurred, » he said.
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Jack de Belin, jury, verdict
World news – AU – Jury released in the rape trial against Jack de Belin
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