Former NRL player Jarryd Hayne’s sexual assault convictions quashed on appeal

By Sarah Gerathy and Jamie McKinnell, ABC

Former rugby league star Jarryd Hayne may walk free from prison after his sexual assault convictions were quashed on appeal.

The 36-year-old was found guilty in May last year of sexually assaulting a woman at her Newcastle home on the night of the 2018 NRL grand final.

It was the third time he had been tried over the incident and the second time he was found guilty.

His first trial ended in a hung jury, he was convicted after the second but then won an appeal, and the third trial resulted in this now-quashed conviction.

The NSW Court of Criminal Appeal was split 2-1 over the decision.

Justice Stephen Rothman said the appeal succeeded on two grounds: one concerning the trial judge’s decision not allow further cross-examination of the complainant and another concerning a direction to the jury about how to treat allegations the woman had lied.

“The outcome is that the appeal from each conviction is allowed … and the court will quash the two convictions in order that there be a new trial,” he said.

“Whether there in fact is a new trial is a matter for the Director of the Public Prosecutions.”

The Court of Appeal will hear arguments this afternoon about whether Hayne, who has been in prison since last year, should now be granted bail.

Hayne’s lawyer argued the interaction was ‘entirely consensual’

During the trial the jury heard the woman had contacted Hayne via Instagram a little less than two weeks before their first in-person meeting and the messages progressed to a “sexualised” nature.

It heard he arrived at the woman’s home, having negotiated a A$550 taxi fare back to Sydney, and told the driver to wait outside.

The court heard Hayne tried to kiss the woman, at one point grabbing her by the face, with “forceful” actions despite her telling him to stop.

The jurors were told Hayne’s charges were in relation to two forms of sexual activity – oral and digital penetration – and the complainant had said “no” and “stop”.

It allegedly lasted for about 30 seconds, and stopped when the complainant’s genitals started to bleed.

During the trial Hayne’s barrister, Margaret Cunneen SC, said the activity was “entirely consensual” and he “didn’t mean to cause her any harm at all”.

During the appeal Hayne’s lawyers argued that messages deleted from the woman’s phone showed that she was consenting and should lead to his acquittal.


According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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