Rugby League

Jarryd Hayne rape trial: Everything you need to know about NRL star’s court hearing

Jarryd Hayne will defend two charges of aggravated sexual assault at a trial beginning at the Newcastle District Court on Monday.

One of the most high-profile athletes in Australia has been largely absent from the spotlight after being accused of having sexual intercourse with a 26-year-old woman without her consent on the night of the 2018 NRL Grand Final.

But like current rugby league player Jack de Belin, whose own sexual assault trial continues in the NSW District Court this week, Hayne, 32, will once again become a daily headline.

Here’s everything you need to know about the allegations, what to expect in court and what Hayne has been up to as the trial begins.

WHO IS JARRYD HAYNE?

Jarryd Hayne the 49er, the Eel and the defendant.Source:Getty Images

The son of Fijian NRL player Manoa Thompson, Hayne was raised by his mother, Jodie, in a housing commission in western Sydney.

A true rags-to-riches tale, Hayne followed in his absent father’s footsteps by making his NRL debut at age 18. He was a sensation for the Parramatta Eels, winning the Dally M Medal as the league’s best player at age 21 while leading his team to the 2009 Grand Final.

The once-in-a-generation fullback was also a star at State of Origin level and was named NSW’s best player as it ended an eight-year drought in 2014, the same year he won his second Dally M.

The following year he stunned the competition by announcing he’d pursue an NFL career in America, where he defied the odds by earning a roster spot with the San Francisco 49ers after a sparkling pre-season and went on to appear in eight games as a running back and punt returner.

The successful transition in the US took Hayne’s fame to unprecedented heights but at age 27 it also marked the end of his time as an elite sports performer.

He left the NFL after the 49ers changed coaches and turned his hand to a third code, Rugby Sevens. After debuting for the world-beating Fijian side he failed to make the cut for the island nation’s Olympic squad, which went on to win a gold medal.

Hayne returned to the NRL in 2016 on the richest deal in the league’s history when the Gold Coast Titans paid him a reported $1.2 million a season. But he never recaptured his previous form and after forcing his way back to Parramatta he was out of contract at the end of the 2018 season when he was charged by police.

WHAT IS HE ACCUSED OF?

Jarryd Hayne arrives at Newcastle Local Court for a hearing in June, 2019. (AAP Image/Darren Pateman)Source:AAP

Hayne is accused of sexually assaulting a 26-year-old woman on September 30, 2018, between 8pm and 10pm in Newcastle.

According to allegations in Court documents, Hayne had sex with the woman without her consent and “recklessly inflicted actual bodily harm”.

Police allege took a taxi to the woman’s house, which she shared with her mother, on the night of the NRL Grand Final but left in the same cab 20 minutes later and was driven back to Sydney.

Police will allege he ripped off the woman’s clothes and bit her genital area, drawing blood, and requiring her to seek medical treatment for her injuries at a hospital the following day.

WHAT CAN WE EXPECT IN COURT?

Hayne, whose lawyer is Penny Musgrave, has pleaded not guilty to both charges. The trial, which was delayed in April because Hayne wanted his case decided by a jury instead of a single judge, is expected to last two weeks and draw intense public interest.

The woman and any other witnesses the police introduce will be called upon to give evidence but as the defendant, Hayne has the option of taking the stand or not.

The maximum jail term for aggravated sexual assault if proven is 20 years.

WHAT HAS HAYNE BEEN DOING THE PAST TWO YEARS?

After the NSW Sex Crimes Squad’s investigation into the incident first became public, Hayne took a holiday to the Middle East with Parramatta teammates Tim Mannah and Michael Jennings.

He handed himself in at Ryde Police Station in Sydney after returning to Australia and was charged by police before being released on strict bail conditions.

He was allowed to travel to Western Australia in mid-2019, to attend a six-month missionary course at the Youth With A Mission centre.

Hayne stayed in a dormitory-style accommodation near the evangelical Christian centre’s training campus with other men and was required to attend lectures and not drink alcohol.

He returned briefly to Newcastle in July that year to formally enter a plea of not guilty and spoke to media for the first time as he exited court.

“I want to make it very clear, I’m innocent of these charges,” Hayne said. “It’s been a very hard time for my family … but justice will be served.”

Hayne rides a camel in Dubai on his Middle Eastern sojourn.Source:Instagram

Hayne training with Parramatta and NSW forward Nathan Brown and former Eels player Troy Savage, now a personal trainerSource:Instagram

After moving back to NSW from Perth late last year Hayne has been spotted occasionally, playing basketball in Marrickville in Sydney’s inner-west and working out with former Eels teammates in Merrylands.

He’s also provided sporadic commentary on sports via his Twitter page, including The Last Dance documentary on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, the NFL and his beloved Eels.

Former Parramatta player Troy Savage told The Australian this week Hayne has been living on the Central Coast while he awaits a trial that will decide whether he is handed one last opportunity to revive his sporting career – or spends the next period of his life behind bars.

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