Jarryd Hayne verdict: Footballer is found guilty of sexual assault

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Jarryd Hayne walked free from court after posting a $50,000 surety on Monday - after he was found guilty of two sexual assault charges and a judge said jail was 'inevitable'

Jarryd Hayne walked free from court after posting a $50,000 surety on Monday – after he was found guilty of two sexual assault charges and a judge said jail was ‘inevitable’

Jarryd Hayne has walked from court with a defiant message after a jury sensationally found him guilty of two charges of sexual assault. 

‘I’d rather go to jail knowing I spoke the truth rather than be a free man living a lie,’ the footballer said following the verdict on Monday. 

Hayne, 33, appeared to have been crying while waiting to be released on bail, with a relative coughing up an additional $50,000 in surety to secure his liberty.

Judge Helen Syme said that jail would be ‘inevitable’ when the one-time rugby league superstar is sentenced in May. 

A NSW District Court jury of seven men and five women reached its sensational guilty verdict just after 2pm on Monday, following three full days of deliberations.  

The former rugby league superstar now faces up to 14 years’ behind bars over the two charges of sexual intercourse without consent. Hayne was found not guilty of more serious alternative charges of aggravated sexual intercourse without consent inflicting actual bodily harm, which would have carried an even longer sentence.

The rugby league icon bowed his head when the first guilty verdict was delivered. Hayne and his new wife Amelia Bonnici hugged afterwards. She looked shell-shocked. One of his lawyers patted him on the arm. 

An emotional Hayne walked from the courtroom after relatives quickly arranged for the payment of a $50,000 surety

An emotional Hayne walked from the courtroom after relatives quickly arranged for the payment of a $50,000 surety

Hayne appeared to have been crying before fronting the media

'I'd rather go to jail knowing I spoke the truth,' he said

Hayne appeared to have been crying before fronting the media. ‘I’d rather go to jail knowing I spoke the truth,’ he said, in a seeming admission of his fate

Jarryd Hayne - pictured with wife Amelia Bonnici on Monday - was found guilty of two counts of sexual intercourse without consent with the unnamed woman in 2018

Jarryd Hayne – pictured with wife Amelia Bonnici on Monday – was found guilty of two counts of sexual intercourse without consent with the unnamed woman in 2018

Hayne shielded his face with dark sunglasses and clutched Ms Bonnici's hand as he headed to court on Monday. He was found not guilty of alternative charges of aggravated sexual assault, inflicting actual bodily harm

Hayne shielded his face with dark sunglasses and clutched Ms Bonnici’s hand as he headed to court on Monday. He was found not guilty of alternative charges of aggravated sexual assault, inflicting actual bodily harm

Hayne will be under virtual house arrest at home on the NSW Central Coast from now until sentencing.  The jury’s decision comes after a previous jury trial in Newcastle last year failed to reach a verdict.

Hayne’s victim, then 26, had claimed he had sexually assaulted her, had been ‘really rough and pushy’, forcefully removed her clothes and left her bleeding from her genitalia. Hayne had claimed he had performed consensual digital and oral sex on her.

The famous footballer’s rendezvous with the woman came after he had been celebrating a bucks weekend in Newcastle and paid a cab driver $550 to drive him back to Sydney.

Verdict at last: Jarryd Hayne held hands with his new wife Amelia Bonnici as the second jury trial came to a close

Verdict at last: Jarryd Hayne held hands with his new wife Amelia Bonnici as the second jury trial came to a close

But he asked the driver to let him ‘pick up a bag’ from a nearby suburb, where the woman lived with her mother. The taxi waited out the front. 

Hayne first met the woman via Instagram when she messaged him that he was ‘absolutely gorgeous’ about a year earlier.

The jury was told Hayne played an Ed Sheeran cover of Oasis’s Wonderwall in the woman’s room – when the driver rapped on the front door.

The woman became upset that the cab had was running and had said there was ‘no way’ she was going to have sex with Hayne.

Shortly afterwards, she alleged Hayne forcefully removed her clothes, was ‘really pushy and rough’ and left her scared. She said she had suffered cuts to her vagina which left her bleeding.  

Hayne left soon after and she sent him a text message saying that ‘I’m hurting so much’.

‘I know I’ve talked about sex and stuff so much but I didn’t want to do that after knowing the taxi was waiting for you,’ she wrote in a follow-up text.

His only reply was ‘Go doctor tomorrow’.   

The Sydney jury resumed deliberations on Monday. Pictured:u00A0Amellia Bonnici and Jarryd Hayne outside court on March 22, 2021

The Sydney jury resumed deliberations on Monday. Pictured: Amellia Bonnici and Jarryd Hayne outside court on March 22, 2021

Hayne never denied the couple had been intimate but his defence told the court that he believed she was saying no to sexual intercourse and consented to other acts. 

In recorded evidence, he said: ‘She said she didn’t want to have sex. We didn’t have sex.’ 

Hayne said he knew the woman didn’t want sex but he had still ‘wanted to please her’. 

The verdict comes amid a landmark national debate about consent, with the March 4 Justice on Parliament House a week ago over alleged sexual assaults, and the NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller suggesting an ‘iConsent’ app – where participants could swipe for consenting. 

Earlier on Monday, Judge Syme had urged the jury to put out of their minds community discussion about sexual assault that has appeared in the media recently.

‘You must put out of your mind any media reporting obviously about this case, but there’s been a lot of media reporting about a lot of other things in general,’ she said, in an apparent reference to the consent debate in the media. ‘You must put those things out of your mind.’

Hayne’s jury retired at 12.39pm last Wednesday and as of last Friday the court heard they had made ‘good progress’ toward a verdict. The jury made a decision just prior to lunch on Monday but held out on delivering their verdict until after lunch. 

Hayne will be sentenced on May 6 at Newcastle, where his court saga began.

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